Seen as the focal point of Britain’s tech industry, and the hub of what the Government views as Britain’s Silicon Valley, there are big designs for the area around Old Street roundabout; to wit, this new ad-covered office block parked atop the junction.
The images above, designed by local firms 00:/ and Space Station, depict Startup City, an incubator for the newly-formed companies that are planting roots in the Shoreditch area, of which there are many bright young things (including, it should be noted, Londonist). The most striking thing is the façade, made up of a quite extraordinary number of digital advertising panels, which would be available to rent on a per-pixel per-minute basis. The offices themselves would be configurable, able to accommodate inchoate start-ups of just one or two people whilst giving them the room to grow rapidly. The ground level, currently made up of little more than shrubbery and bits of road furniture, would be recalibrated as a public space complete with market stalls, cafes and sundry facilities that the hipster / creative crowd crave.
The design is currently only at the proposal stage, and it would be a number of years before drivers on City Road had their attention distracted by a giant LED screen. Far be it from us to comment on the merits or not of this immense paean to marketing and consumerism, it would fit into place at an intersection that is rapidly gaining a reputation for architectural exuberance, whether it be the giant buttocks of the Bezier building, the diamond-shaped hotel, the forthcoming flip-top bin on the site of the old Foundry, or the proposed Borg cube. The “village atmosphere” of Old Street that Islington council were so keen to preserve a few years back seems to have been forgotten, which is probably no bad thing.