Professor Charles Hollands’ Tooley Street Beacon is a competition-winning design for an area of public realm associated wayfinding on the Tooley Street Triangle directly in front of London Bridge Station. The competition was organised by the London Festival of Architecture and Team London Bridge. Charles Holland Architectures’ entry was praised for the direct way in which it responded to both the brief and the site.
The design consists of two main elements; a scale map of the area printed onto the pavement and a giant signpost, or beacon, which provides local information and directions to specific landmarks. The beacon also incorporates a bench.
The pavement map is formed from street-marking material which depicts a scale map of the area complete with main roads, landmarks and north sign. This element has some of the qualities of the model village or architectural model, a map you can walk on depicted at a scale pitched somewhere between the miniature and the real thing.
The beacon is like an Ordnance Survey symbol or Google pin come to life. It forms an arrow in plan but is also like a monolith or needle in form. It refers to traditional way finding objects in the landscape, often formed in stone or by piles of rocks, but rendered here with a Pop Art clarity. The beacon is fabricated from vitreous-enamel panels which have been screen-printed with text.
The beacon imparts wayfinding information in three ways: each side relates to the three roads that form the edges of the site. An explanatory text gives historic information about each one. Above this, three signposts give directions to specific local landmarks. And, at the top, a polished mirror ball reflects the map and the surrounding area in a more oblique and gently surreal way.
The design responds to the brief by providing wayfinding at various scales whilst aiming to also provide visual interest and a sense of delight.
Charles Holland Architects would like to thank Team London Bridge for their commitment in realising the project, London Festival of Architecture for organising the commission and all the team involved in the fabrication and installation of the project.