We have identified 10 key potential interventions that we believe sensitively provide an adaptable framework that could help deliver our vision.
Opening up and enhancing public access
The general public have always been able to come into the market, but few do as it can often appear dominated by vehicles or business activity. We wish to transform the Grand Avenue into a new gateway that welcomes the public into and through the buildings and retain and enhance the ’Buyers Walk’ as one of the main routes within the ground floor.
We also envisage the opportunity to reinstate the original ‘carcass corridors’ that once connected ‘Buyers Walk’ directly to the street to allow purchased goods to be quickly and easily taken away. These passageways could provide the flexibility for the buildings to further open to the surrounding streets depending on the type of event, use or activity taking place.
Making the most of the halls
Removing the later additions – cold rooms, storage, counters, etc. – that have subdivided the market halls would not only reveal the building’s wonderful, elegant Victorian structure to be properly appreciated, but also provide four large, clear areas under the oversailing roof that would be highly adaptable for a wide range of future uses.
Grand Avenue cut
Possibly the most significant and exciting intervention is a cut through part of the floor of the Grand Avenue to connect, visually and physically, with the basement levels. Carefully and sensitively removing a part of what is currently a road would bring natural daylight and ventilation into the below ground spaces of the former rail Goodsyard and help visitors move around the buildings more easily.
The cut would also, very importantly, allow the ground floor halls to be connected to one another below ground so that they could work together for large events or activities whilst maintaining public access through the Grand Avenue.
Grand Avenue stalls
Continuing the legacy of food, new kiosks could be introduced onto the Grand Avenue as two-storey freestanding pavilions that sensitively sit within the historic structure. The stalls would bring new life and activity to the Grand Avenue with micro industries and independent food and drink start-ups making and selling produce on site and providing training and cookery lessons.
Buyers Walk gantries
The lofty, airy volume of the current ’Buyers Walk’ could be accentuated by the introduction of a first-floor gallery, opening up the opportunity for creating a mezzanine level and for people to gain a different view and experience of the existing structure.
East Poultry Avenue bridge
A roof over the Rotunda
A delicate glass roof would allow for the creation of a physic garden as part of the winding, cobbled, Victorian Rotunda ramp, a truly unique space within the City and a fitting threshold between the buildings and the wider Smithfield public realm.
Service lifts and vertical circulation
New vertical circulation cores at the eastern and western ends of the buildings would provide accessible connections between ground and basement levels without significantly impacting on the historic building and structures. A new central core would provide an amazing experience rising up from the basement through to the Grand Avenue, mezzanine level, and onto the underside of the magnificent roof structure.