Ian Ritchie Architects

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Tower of London Environs Scheme

Our submission for the Tower Environs Scheme competition created a 21st Century reinforcement of the ‘rings of history’ encircling the Tower of London.

The new Visitors’ Centre, ticketing and education facilities housed in a stainless steel clad blade on the city side of the moat help to define more clearly the layers of discovery into The Tower. The Blade inverts the museological convention of visitor observing historical artefact in a static display case. Here, the inhabited volume frames views onto The Tower, the ramparts and a landscape re-energised by a new accommodation programme.

Tower of London Environs Scheme: Concept sketch

Tower Hill is re-assigned its function as an open space for public gathering, a hill connecting the Visitors’ Centre with the River Thames. The landscape of the environs permeates the building in the form of trees within the space, while a carefully composed visual relationship is established with the environs through slots in the external skin.

By bringing clarity to the landscape of The Tower Environs, the scheme promotes an increased perception of space and distance between the Tower of London and its urban surroundings. Pedestrian routes are designed to create an effortless transition between London Underground arrival level, ticketing and the crown of Tower Hill.

Extending the public domain to create an easily accessible all-round walk brings this World Heritage site into everyday use for modern London.

Tower of London Environs Scheme

Tower of London, London, UK

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