Ian Ritchie Architects were commissioned by Chelsfield plc* in December 1997 to re-conceive a Master Plan and Architecture for the urban regeneration of approximately 15 hectares at White City, London, as a local and regional shopping and leisure destination of 600,000sq ft together with the creation of new public transport interchanges for west London.
Our thinking presented the client with an opportunity to envisage a first phase of development almost twice the size to more than 1 million sq.ft. of retail and leisure along with the potential to expand this to nearly 2 million sq.ft.
Our thinking and design was based on certain specific objectives:
– embracing connexity and specifically integrating Shepherd’s Bush Centre
– the environmental safeguarding of existing residential areas
– a master plan allowing future expansion both internally and externally
– an urban design which responds to the existing physical infrastructure
– a coherent strategy for pedestrian, cycle and public transport
– the provision for future inter-modal transport
– the creation of a strong architectural identity
– accepting and integrating a 4,500 car park without visual impact
– integrating new affordable housing and community facilities
– making retail and leisure more than a ‘buying’ centre
– a clean and natural environment at the heart of the project.
The development involved creating two new public transport interchanges connecting London Underground – in the south east with a rebuilt tube station on the Central Line and a new West London Line Railway Station and future tram terminus; – and in the north west with a new Hammersmith and City Line Underground Station at Wood Lane near to the Central Line’s White City station and adjacent to a new London Transport Bus Station. Other transport infrastructures include the relocation and rebuilding of the Central Line Underground train depot, and new pedestrian crossings.
The proposals included protected and naturally ventilated streets, a large central Wintergarden, a nature reserve and a terraced bamboo garden, two public squares and new public library and the use of recyclable and recycled materials.
Site clearance began in 2003 with the main contractor was Multiplex.
In autumn 2004, during construction, Chelsfield’s interest in Whitecity was sold to a development consortium, including Westfield Shoppingtowns Ltd. Ian Ritchie Architects have completed all of the public transport stations and train depot. The commercial scheme was taken in-house by Westfield and redesigned, and the commercial scheme that opened late 2008 is not the architecture externally or internally of that designed by Ian Ritchie Architects between 1997 and 2004.