Crossrail and property developer Derwent have submitted a planning application for their Tottenham Court Road Station development. Not everyone is happy.
The development proposals cover four sites: the Oxford Street Corner; the former Astoria; and the front and rear of the development site on Dean Street. The plans include 500,000 sq ft of retail, office and residential accommodation, along with the first new West-End theatre for a decade (though at 350 seats, it'll be no Astoria).
We believe that the current proposal for the redevelopment of One Oxford St, London is not of high enough architectural merit for such an important, and central site. In our view the proposal is generic, unambitious and detracts from the urban environment and streetscape at the junction of Oxford street and Charing Cross Road.
They have a point. This is the gateway to Oxford Street and the heart of a new public space. On one side you have Centrepoint – not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a statement of its era and you can't ignore it. North of the junction you have the controversial Quinlan Terry period design for 265 Tottenham Court Road, which again makes the site its own. Is the best the 2010s can do really a block that wouldn't look lost on Alexanderplatz? St Giles Circus, as the area is known has the potential to redefine the eastern end of London's traditional retail centre. The Derwent proposal? Well we're struggling to find an adjective... Is 'bleehhhh' a word? That's how we feel.
The other parts of the scheme look pretty nice, we like the bling take on site C particularly – but Crossrail and Westminster's planners should be aiming higher for the junction – can't we do better?