Studio Egret West appointed as Lead Architects for Smithfield East & West Market buildings while Hawkins\Brown win the Public Realm commission

  • Studio Egret West will lead on the delivery of concept designs for new cultural and commercial spaces, protecting the historic fabric of the Smithfield East and West Market buildings.
  • HawkinsBrown have been tasked with transforming the pedestrian experience in the wider Smithfield area with new, better connected public spaces and routes.
  • Both projects will help realise the City Corporation’s vision for Culture Mile, creating a vibrant, exciting and welcoming new destination in the north west of the Square Mile that will work collaboratively with the new Museum of London and plans for the proposed Centre for Music as they progress.

The City of London Corporation has today announced the winning teams who will be reimagining the Smithfield East and West Market buildings and the broader Smithfield public realm – Studio Egret West and HawkinsBrown, respectively.

The projects will help realise the City Corporation’s vision for Culture Mile which stretches from Farringdon to Moorgate. Culture Mile is led by the City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, the Museum of London and a growing network of stakeholders from across the commercial, cultural and civic sectors.

Together the partners are leading the transformation of the area, improving their offer to audiences with imaginative collaborations, outdoor programming and events seven days a week. Once the new Elizabeth Line stations open at Farringdon and Moorgate by 2021, many thousands more visitors are expected to come to the City. The new Museum of London is set to open in 2024 with plans for the Centre for Music also being considered.

Smithfield East and West buildings and the Rotunda

The City Corporation is planning to consolidate its three wholesale food markets onto a single site at Dagenham Dock, in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Should the Meat Market move as part of this project, the Smithfield East and West Market buildings will be transformed into a vibrant, mixed-use development that complements Culture Mile. The final concept designs will protect and reflect the history of these iconic buildings which have served their area for over 150 years.

The City Corporation appointed a diverse judging panel, which included a number of internal and external members and an independent Mayoral Design Advocate. After a robust evaluation process, Studio Egret West (SEW) was selected as best placed to lead on the designs for this landmark project given their comprehensive knowledge of the area and their exciting ideas for breathing new life into these special buildings. SEW will be supported by a cast of experts including Alan Baxter Associates, structural engineers and heritage advisors, Donald Insall Associates, conservation architects and This Must Be The Place, meanwhile use specialists.

SEW’s design submission showed how a loving restoration could see these structures be turned to public use, with sensitive interventions opening-up the buildings allowing new users to better interact with the spaces inside.

SEW adopted a flexible approach to curating a mix of uses that would both support the night-time economy and complement the new Museum of London, recognising the pace of change in the broader area. The uses proposed blend cultural, commercial, and creative space to create a world-class destination for all. SEW’s approach also allows for some early delivery through pop-up and temporary uses that both celebrate the history of the location and introduce exciting innovative uses.

David West, Founding Director at Studio Egret West, said:

“We are excited to explore the evolution of Smithfield Market, working closely with the City of London Corporation, key stakeholders and the wider community. 

Thanks to connectivities that did not exist previously, Smithfield is set to attract a new influx of people and, should the meat market move, Smithfield Market could be transformed in a highly flexible and imaginative way, creating a place for meeting and making, growing and exchanging, exposition and entertainment.

Similar to the Great Exhibition of 1851, imagine the spectrum of innovations celebrated in the newly opened-up market halls of Smithfield.”

Public realm project

This project will deliver exceptional new public spaces across the whole Smithfield area which runs from Farringdon Street to Aldersgate. The new public realm will transform the pedestrian experience by replacing some of the existing road network with new footpaths and landscaping – creating healthier, well-lit and safer streets, while helping to improve air quality by reducing emissions from traffic.

HawkinsBrown’s initial concept demonstrated an appropriate and imaginative design process which responded to the different historic street patterns in the area, taking into consideration surrounding character and uses. The proposals also set up methods for introducing greenery into the area, alongside a healthy streets approach, and designing a spacious and welcoming ‘threshold’ area for the major institutions that will be opening on the site.

The new spaces could also host a range of cultural activities throughout the year, attracting new visitors to the area.

Darryl Chen, Partner and Head of Urban Design at HawkinsBrown, said:

“We are delighted to be appointed on the transformation of this historic landmark site. This is a unique challenge to reimagine the identity of an entire area for the enjoyment of London’s residents and its visitors. Our initial scheme is based on the idea of the field – returning the area’s lanes and rat-runs into a single identifiable place that provides a range of settings for civic activities. The design of public spaces could really blur boundaries between inside and outside and redefine how culture is expressed in the public realm. Our practice has been long-time residents of Farringdon and we look forward to revealing the stories and significance it has had for many in the area.”

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said:

“These Smithfield buildings and the wider area are a key part of the Square Mile that will serve as a gateway for even more visitors once the Elizabeth Line opens. We are confident that these two firms and their partners will be able to help bring our vision for these historic buildings to life, while creating exceptional public spaces around them.

“This is a significant step forward in our journey to deliver on our wider ambition to create a vibrant and new world-class Culture Mile at the heart of the historic Square Mile. Alongside the new Museum of London, these plans will create exciting, new creative uses and public spaces, attracting workers, residents and new visitors to the area alike, as well as meeting our obligations to improve air quality.

“We look forward to sharing more detail on our plans with stakeholders in the coming months.”

The images released today show initial design concepts from a design competition; Studio Egret West and HawkinsBrown will now begin working with key stakeholders to develop designs for the Smithfield East and West Market buildings and public realm projects, with engagement on the plans with the local community expected to take place in the coming months.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages Smithfield, New Spitalfields and Billingsgate Markets, is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year.



Please find more information below and a selection of images in the WeTransfer link below from Studio Egret West and HawkinsBrown submissions.

Credits must be provided to Studio Egret West and HawkinsBrown (where highlighted):


For media enquiries, please contact:

London Communications Agency:

Jay Allan, ja@londoncommunications.co.uk 020 7291 1506 / 07704 678 903

Anna Whitton, aw@londoncommunications.co.uk 020 7291 1507 / 07850 293 670

City of London Corporation:

Andrew Buckingham, andrew.buckingham@cityoflondon.gov.uk 020 7332 1452 / 07795 333 060

About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

About Culture Mile

Culture Mile is a corner of London’s working capital, where creativity is fast becoming the most valuable currency. The City of London Corporation, together with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra and the Museum of London, is leading the animation of the whole neighbourhood with imaginative collaborations and events.

Culture Mile brings commerce and culture together in a wealth of creativity. Known meets unknown. Ancient and modern collide as the streets are activated by exhibitions, gigs, pop-ups and events. So, whether you’re with family, friends or flying solo, there’s something for everyone. And thanks to Crossrail’s new Elizabeth Line connections at Farringdon and Moorgate, the area is more connected than ever.

Join us today where two thousand years of history collide with the world’s best culture. www.culturemile.london

About the City Corporation’s Markets Co-Location Programme

The Markets Co-Location Programme (MCP) has been developed by the City of London Corporation to bring together the three historic markets – Billingsgate (fish), New Spitalfields (fruit & veg) and Smithfield (meat) – to one single site.

The City Corporation’s number one priority is to maintain a top-quality market environment that continues to serve London and the south east, however each market is facing a series of pressing and complex challenges. The condition and quality of the buildings are below what is expected of a modern wholesale market. This – along with the many constraints of the buildings – means the ability for businesses to maintain high standards and grow is an ongoing concern.

Dagenham Dock has been chosen as the only viable site to secure the long-term futures of the markets. It will help to reduce unsustainable levels of traffic congestion in central London, improve the capital’s air quality and free up the existing sites for new homes and the City Corporation’s Culture Mile ambitions.

About Studio Egret West

Studio Egret West are a practice of architects, urban designers and landscape architects who bring a combination of pragmatism and poetry to place making.

The 70 strong team has worked on numerous complex regeneration schemes throughout the UK and abroad that create a blend of living, learning, working and playing environments. These include: the refurbishment of the Grade II* listed Balfron Tower in Poplar and Park Hill estate in Sheffield; the transformation of the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes; the revival of the former Mayfield Depot in Manchester; the multiple award winning Clapham Library; and a framework for the future of the Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill.

www.studioegretwest.com / @StudioEgretWest

About HawkinsBrown

HawkinsBrown is an architecture practice based in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Los Angeles.

Founded over 30 years ago by Partners Russell Brown and Roger Hawkins, the firm brings a collaborative approach to projects across a range of types and scale in five main sectors: civic, community & culture; education; workplace; transport & infrastructure and residential.

Recently completed projects include the 20-year project to upgrade Tottenham Court Road Station; Here East, the 1.2 million sq ft workplace campus in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; a new headquarters building and estates strategy for The Bartlett UCL, the world’s No.1 ranked school of architecture; the restoration and modernisation of the Grade II listed Hackney Town Hall and 538 new homes for Peabody as part of the ongoing regeneration of the St John’s Hill estate Clapham.

Alongside its work in architecture, design and planning, HawkinsBrown conducts industry leading research, with outputs that include HB:ERT, an open-source and free-to-use plug-in for BIM models that enables teams across the industry to analyse the whole-life carbon impact of their design choices.

HawkinsBrown’s awards in 2019 include: an RIBA National Award for the Beecroft Building for the University of Oxford and Sustainability Prize & Overall Winner in the New London Awards for Agar Grove, the largest development of Passivhaus homes in the UK, designed for the London Borough of Camden.

www.hawkinsbrown.com / @Hawkins_Brown