Knight Dragon reveals first glimpse of its diverse London Design District

International developer Knight Dragon has unveiled its plans for a new London leisure district featuring affordable workshops for the capital's creatives.

Billed as the first purpose-built district designed for London’s creative industries, the Design District will provide a permanent base for over 1,800 people working in the fields of design, art, technology, crafts, music, food and digital innovation. Rents will average £25 (US$33, €28) per square foot.

The discrict is one of seven elements Knight Dragon has planned for its wider £8.4bn Greenwich Peninsula scheme in south-east London, which will include 15,720 new homes, central London’s largest film studio and a 5km sculptural running trail.

London architecture practice Assemblage is masterplanning the 10,000sq m (107,000sq ft) project, and landscape architects Schulze+Grassov has designed the public realm, including a series of courtyards, a central public square and a pedestrianised quarter.

To mix and juxtapose architectural voices, eight emerging architectural practices have been selected from across Europe to create the district’s 16 low-cost, human-scaled buildings.

They are: 6a Architects; Mole; Architecture 00; Barrozi Veiga; SelgasCano; Adam Khan Architects; David Kohn Architects; and Assemblage themselves.

Each were given a pair of buildings to design independently and ‘blind’ from each other, “creating a provocative diversity of colour and form.”

Among the leisure facilities in the district is a rooftop basketball court by Architecture 00 and a semi-transparent market hall by SelgasCano – best known in the UK for its colourful, amorphous Serpentine Pavilion in 2015.

“Creativity is what drives forward any thriving city,” said Knight Dragon chief executive Richard Margree. “Greenwich Peninsula presents a unique chance to create a new permanent district designed by creatives for creatives.

"At the very centre of this new community will be artists mixing with start-ups, mixing with independent market traders and design companies, large and small – everyone is welcome. We want a real mix of companies to come and to take over the place.”

A host of established architects and designers have been appointed by Knight Dragon to work on different elements of the Peninsula, including Allies and Morrison, Marks Barfield, SOM, DSDHA, Alison Brooks and Duggan Morris.

Meanwhile, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has designed a £1bn leisure hub for the development. His crown-shaped landmark will house a revamped Tube and bus station, a hotel, winter garden, theatre, cinema, bars, shops and a wellbeing hub. A bridge – the mast cables of which form a sundial sitting on the prime meridian line – will connect the site to the River Thames.

Knight Dragon  Design District  Greenwich Peninsula  6a Architects  Barrozi Veiga  SelgasCano  Adam Khan Architects  David Kohn Architects  Assemblage 
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