Kingston Ancient Market Place and Stalls
ARCHITECT: Tonkin Liu
CLIENT: The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
AWARDS WON: riba LONDON award 2016
The rejuvenation of Kingston Ancient Market Square has led to an economic and sustainable transformation of this part of Kingston, reviving the collective memory of the ancient centre of the town. It provides an important historical reference of medieval streets, alleys and the market square, in contrast to the ‘90s mall of Bentall’s and the mad gyratory system.
Tonkin Liu were the lead designers and have immersed themselves, for four years, in understanding Kingston’s complex multiple constraints, as well its great potential to revive an ancient market.
The design strategy has diversified the use of the Kingston Ancient Market Place for evening dining and performances, proposing perforate, cross-laminated timber market stalls that are transformed into lanterns at night. The stalls have been clustered and positioned to open up urban vistas, in the north-south as well as east-west directions, from the All Saint’s Church to the Guild Hall and from the historic alleyways. In addition to delivering the public realm and the market stalls, Tonkin Liu has also proposed a strategy that regenerates the larger Ancient Market Area from its centre outwards, from the Market House towards other parts of the Ancient Market Area and the Riverside.
Market House is a beautiful building in the centre of the square, once surrounded by refuse storage. The new laminate timber stalls frame this remarkable building and a subtly mottled granite carpet describes the volume of the square; it’s now a shared surface that effortlessly addresses the often conflicting demands of shared spaces.
The stalls, containing storage and services, unfold and change and can be expanded and adapted by a suite of temporary Kingston Market branded tents. The square itself is framed by a collection of individual buildings - now being renovated by their owners – and the stalls very cleverly conceal most of the lighting to these buildings and help de-clutter the environment.
The square is now seen as a changing stage-set for many uses and activities. It has brought an important but tired part of the town back to being a meaningful place with a generous public realm and led the way for future private investment.
CONTRACTOR: Balfour Beatty
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Rodrigues Associates
Cross Laminated Timber Specialist: KLH
INTERNAL AREA: 7000 SQM
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Anthony Hurren Photography & MIKE tonkin