This September, New London Architecture and The City Centre collaborated with Broadgate, London’s largest pedestrianised neighbourhood, to challenge London school students to design an art structure to tackle loneliness in their city.
This is a direct response to a recent ComRes survey that found 52% of Londoners feel lonely, making the city Britain’s loneliest place.
Working with Scale Rule - a collective of architects, engineers and designers - students came up with the winning design A Tree Come True which offers a platform for social interaction.
Their idea for the temporary structure has been developed into a professional installation by Scale Rule, launched by NLA Chairman Peter Murray at Broadgate’s Exchange Square on 30 September.
The project was designed by NLA and The City Centre’s Learning team to spark young peoples’ interest in the construction industry through free workshops facilitated by Scale Rule, who seek to promote diversity and public engagement in their work. Students aged 16-18 from London state schools competed for 20 available places on the programme.
The final design was conceived during a weekend of interactive sessions hosted at The City Centre in June where Scale Rule led participants through a series of design challenges.
The winning design was chosen by judges Peter Murray (Chairman, NLA), Sinead Conneely (Engineer, AKT II), Caroline Cole (Director, Colander Associates) and Benjamin O’Connor (Director, The City Centre).
A Tree Come True is designed to help the public engage with the place they are walking through, form lasting memories and create exciting new encounters.
Composed of a bespoke kit of parts, the piece uses materials including pipes, plywood and standard joining components donated by Sir Robert McAlpine from Broadgate’s site. Scale Rule worked with a team made up of young people and volunteers to complete the construction in one weekend. Asked for feedback on the project as a whole, one student said:
“This opportunity has greatly enhanced my prospects within higher education and has significantly bolstered my verbal and design skills for a career in the built environment.
Thank you for arranging this brilliant opportunity for us to create a pop-up pavilion at Broadgate”.
The installation is part of Broadgate’s year-round programme dedicated to projects which nurture young talent and support the local community. It will remain in situ until 26 October to be enjoyed by local workers, residents and visitors to the neighbourhood.
By Lettie McKie, Head of Learning, NLA and The City Centre