A cultural centre that stems from the past but looks beyond present.
The cities we inherit are never in a perfect finished state. As human life evolves, our cities evolve with us to satisfy the human needs. London is a city that is constantly evolving, changing and growing. It is a restless ground that frequently adapts to fulfil the contemporary needs. On the other hand, the city’s heritage creates a juxtaposition with this idea of constant flux and resists to these rapid changes to maintain the identity of the city.
Regent’s Canal is a significant infrastructure of London’s heritage. Initially used for transporting and trading, the canal is at the moment an area for entertainment and an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is therefore an example of how heritage can be adapted to the contemporary needs of the city. The site is situated in the area of Paddington Basin, a place which was an important trading centre with lots of wharfs and warehouses back in the 1800’s. Nowadays, it has been redeveloped as one of the key business, residential and entertainment places in London with multi-purpose and residential buildings.
The site chosen consists of six existing warehouses and it is one of the few places of Paddington Basin that have not been developed to match the modern standards. The warehouses symbolise a memory of what the canal was used for. Although they represent the past culture and activity of canal, they do not satisfy the contemporary needs of the city. This project aims to create a cultural bond between the past and present and transit their heritage use; their flexible spaces, to a contemporary use. Consequently, as the city is constantly changing and growing, the aim is to design a cultural centre that that will be able to adapt, be open-ended and accommodate a plethora of different activities and qualities that suit the contemporary character of the canal.