In contrast to the impressive design work that’s going into the Crossrail stations themselves, the surface-level buildings that will be sprouting up above ground continue to be uninspiring. Having been thoroughly underwhelmed by the new development at Tottenham Court Road, we’re equally uninspired by the one pictured above at Farringdon.
The images (see more on the Crossrail website) show a proposal for a low-rise office on Lindsey Street at what will be Farringdon station’s eastern entrance. According to a press release, the building offers a “well proportioned” backdrop to Smithfield Market, which sits directly opposite; we’d like to see an ill-proportioned design. It’s not the world’s worst building, but a bland one, and in a location with so much great architecture it looks vulgar. Unfortunately, poor design choices are becoming all too common around Smithfield: witness the plans for Smithfield Quarter at the Market’s western extremity.
Transport wonks will also be interested to see that a shortlist of four companies bidding to operate the service was released this week. On it are Arriva Crossrail, Keolis / Go Ahead, MTR Corporation (Crossrail) and, perhaps surprisingly given their handling of the East Coast rail franchise, National Express. Of the bidders, the latter is the sole British firm, with FirstGroup apparently missing out. London Reconnections has some further thoughts.