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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 033 - Revitalising a mixed-use centre

033 - Brunswick Centre, London

Designed by Patrick Hodgkinson in the 1960’s, the Brunswick Centre is widely recognised as an archetype of a high density, low-rise, mixed-use “superblock”, combining housing, retail, leisure, restaurants and car parking. Thanks to a set of modest, but effective design interventions, the centre has emerged from its troubled past as a highly successful place to live, shop and visit.

Problems during the delivery of the original Brunswick Centre led to severe compromises to the original design. Combined with a poor maintenance and management regime this meant that by the late 1990s the Centre suffered from empty shops, flats in a poor state of repair and a hostile environment failing to attract visitors.

For new owners, Allied London Properties, it was clear that successful retail outlets were required to keep the Centre alive. Project architects Levitt Bernstein, working with Patrick Hodgkinson, conceived some 20,000 square feet of additional retail space which led to a radical transformation of the entire complex and funded its restoration.

The insertion of a large supermarket at the north end of the main concourse served to anchor the scheme and create a destination. Existing shops were extended to incorporate the original colonnades and create a more intimate pedestrian street. Hard landscaping and external lighting was improved and public art introduced. Links with the surroundings streets were strengthened, with steps and ramps remodelled to ease access for all, and new shops introduced to make the centre more outward facing. The project restored and painted the badly maintained and deteriorating concrete structure, replaced the balcony winter gardens and installed a new district heating system to the flats.

“The Brunswick is now fulfilling its original concept as a focal point for the hugely popular London village as it now takes its place as the High Street for Bloomsbury”. Patrick Hodgkinson.

Other Information

UDC2 Section - Integrated Designg the Seed  

A series of critical improvements to the design and layout of the Brunswick Centre have transformed it into a popular place to live, work and visit..

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