Working In The Future City


Places of work have a significant role in defining the character of our cities, through their design and patterns of use, and the processes by which they are developed.

The combination of economic cycles, Planning Approval processes and changing architectural fashion can result in buildings that are inherently inflexible for future adaptations. This leads to relatively short building lifespans that are environmentally and economically unsustainable.

New buildings however, must be responsive to demand throughout their life with concepts of change hardwired in from the start. Existing buildings can be adapted to provide better spatial and environmental performance, leading to city development more in tune with the dynamic needs of its inhabitants.

Inflexible airSpace?

The appropriate development strategy for this one site in the City of London was debated for almost 10 years, through economic highs and lows. Is it possible for development strategies to respond to these boom and bust cycles with more agility?

The St Botolph Building
London, UK

Old lady, new dance steps

Existing buildings can achieve significantly extended lifespans if the right approach is taken to securing onward use and physical adaptation. If approached holistically, the same works can transform the appearance and identity of the building, increase its floorspace and enhance its environmental performance.
Creative placemaking strategies can breathe new life into existing parts of the city, helping to connect an area’s past with its future.

London Stock Exchange
London, UK

Old Spitalfields Market
London, UK


Flexible airspace

Tall buildings can provide a useful way to accommodate more people within our cities. Our challenge is to make these buildings as flexible, responsive and active as a more traditional street. Our vision involves master planning along the vertical axis, developing the building incrementally to reduce the economic risks that affect the feasibility of tall buildings. The research that underpins this proposal will be presented at the 2015 New York Conference of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

477 Collins Street.jpg

477 Collins Street
Melbourne, Australia

During the Growing the Future City exhibition at Foyles Gallery we are running a campaign inviting the public to share their ideas, online and on our interactive wall in the exhibition space. Please answer the question: what would you most like to change about city working life? on Twitter using the hashtags #growingmycity #greening. We’ll feature the best posts in our end-of-show round up.