North London’s world famous mixed use development pioneered a new type of visitor attraction. It grew from a derelict canal-side wharf in 1974 into a top-ten London destination, with 300 market stalls and over thirty shops, art studios, craft workshops, restaurants, and off-beat trend-setting entertainment. It transformed the life of the canal with passenger traffic, and pioneered Camden as the “market town” it has become, with nearly 2,000 stalls overall. Camden Lock has won many awards, and USM’s innovative approach, combining encouragement of small business, imaginative promotion, and arts-based events, has been the successful model for many subsequent projects.
Container City I
The original and first Container City project, located at Trinity Buoy Wharf, in the heart of London's Docklands.
Completed in 5 months in 2001, Container City I was originally 3 stories high providing 12 work studios across 4,800 sq ft.
After high demand a fourth floor was added in 2003 providing three additional live / work apartments.
As well as being very cost effective Container City I is environmentally friendly with over 80% of the building created from recycled material.
Conatiner City B&A Head Office Building
Urban Space Management (Container City) Ltd has been commissioned to design new office building for Bristol & Avon Group located at Severn Road, Hallen in Bristol, using 30 recycled shipping containers.
The building is set over 3 floors, offering the company and staff a functional, spacious and stylish headquarters.
Container City II
Arguably the most famous container building in the world, Container City II is easily recognisable by its funky ziggurat shape and bright colours designed to reflect the creative nature of who occupy its 22 studios.
As the second phase of the original Container City project at Trinity Buoy Wharf, Container City II is both an extension and evolution of the first building.
Built adjacent to Container City I, with inter-connecting bridges, a new lift and full disabled access, Container City II was completed in 2002 providing a further five floors of workspace and a great focal point to this exciting arts quarter.
Launched in June 2014, Roof East is an urban park, rooftop bar and an open-air cinema, situated directly opposite Stratford Station and Westfield shopping centre. Managed by Urban Space Management, this 8th floor rooftop space generated immediate interest from the day it opened its doors to the public. Formerly an empty car park, USM joined forces with Groundwork London to transform the space into a multifunctional park, including setting up a bar and a large open plan seating area to complement spectacular views over the Queen’s Elizabeth Olympic Park. The rooftop also features an open-air cinema, proving remarkably popular amongst film lovers from around London. Created with local community in mind, Roof East is also set to facilitate kids and family activities during summer holidays, as well as art shows and events.
SAVE Smithfield Market
In 2007 / 2008, Urban Space Management Founder Eric Reynolds acted as a Key Expert Witness in the enquiry to save Smithfield Meat Market from Demolition.
6 Years on and the buildings are under threat again - please help us to Save Britain’s Heritage.
Earlier this year the City of London gave permission to Henderson Global Investors for their £160 million plans to knock down part of the General Market building in Farringdon Street and build a seven-storey office block and shopping complex on the site. That decision has now been called in by communities secretary Eric Pickles and will be the subject of a public inquiry in February. If the plans by Henderson’s go ahead the unique interior will be destroyed ((areas marked in red on the image above), so we (USM ) alongside Developers Cathedral Group and Heritage Groups SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Victorian Society, have submitted our own planning application that enables the re-launch of the buildings as a market-based destination for independent food, creative business and cultural enterprise.
USM’s Founder Eric Reynold’s has a proven history for sympathetic regeneration including Camden Lock, Spitalfields Market and Gabriel’s Wharf and is passionate about preserving London’s historic architecture. Mr Reynolds added: “We will build upon the site’s position at the heart of London, its unrivalled transport connections and Farringdon’s global reputation as a destination for creative business and British food. “The opportunity cannot be recreated in the atrium of a modern office building. The grand, top- lit Victorian market halls of the General Market building present a unique opportunity to London. Once lost they will be gone for ever.”
The Victorian Society has described the building as “perhaps the most impressive, large-scale and complete complex of market buildings in England”. A market has operated there for 800 years. The General Market was built in 1881 but has been empty since 1999. A host of celebrities, including writer Alan Bennett, have also spoken out against the plans and more than 4,500 people have signed a petition against it.
The Public Enquiry will take place between the 11th and 28th February 2014. Any public support would be welcomed.
Chelsea Farmers Market
In Sydney Street, amid Chelsea’s fashionable King’s Road area, this unique collection of pretty chalet-style shops began in the 1980’s as the temporary use of a potential development site, but still flourishes in its original form, and has achieved enduring popularity with locals and visitors alike. There’s no stall trading but an attractive mix of quality fashion goods, a pet parlour, a garden centre, three al fresco restaurants and one of the country’s only wholly organic supermarkets. 100% occupancy has been maintained, and replacement units added on an ongoing basis.
Swindon Market Hall
With Swindon’s Victorian Market Hall demolished, the empty site needed an innovative and dynamic new design, and USM’s response was a steel-framed tent-roofed structure that soon became a landmark. Completed in six months, its five peaks represented the fairground that was traditionally part of market activity in country towns. Managed by USM, over forty units housed a wide variety of traders from the staple to the exotic, with additional stall and performance areas outside
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre and Market
The 1960’s shopping mall was a sadly run-down eyesore when USM was asked in 1991 to give it the kiss of life. Immediately the “drab slab” was painted pink, and its entrances and underpasses dramatically improved.
In the first year 100% occupancy was achieved for the first time. Imaginative community-based promotion became a regular feature, and the centre once more became the busy local shopping centre it still is. Most significantly, the moat area below the road level was transformed as a thriving street market, which USM currently manages with 70 stalls trading successfully in a wide range of goods including a specialist Sunday food market.
The City of London’s old fruit and vegetable market moved in 1991, leaving empty a uniquely central heritage building under a huge roof. USM was invited to form a joint venture with the Spitalfields Development Group to “invent” an interim use. A range of initiatives was created with minimal investment, becoming an entirely new destination with a 200 stall market, a unique “food village” with chalet units sharing common eating space, arts and fashion events, sports pitches, a swimming pool, even an opera house. Redevelopment has since reduced the space, but USM’s model took firm root and today’s market to most Londoners is the traditional Spitalfields.
In 1988 an interim use was needed for 20,000 square feet of empty Thames-side space, that would pay for itself in four years. Within three months USM transformed a blank factory wall with a spectacular mural of a Georgian shopping street, as the backdrop to a community of retail workshops, attractive stalls and riverside restaurants, enlivened by arts events and regular promotion. The mix of off-beat activity and local designer makers complemented the site’s South Bank location to create a unique visitor attraction, and the “temporary” solution was so successful that it still flourishes as a favourite destination two decades later.
Trinity Buoy Wharf
In 1996, Urban Space Management won a competition to develop the historic but derelict Trinity Buoy Wharf into a centre for the arts and creative industries.
USM’s evolutionary approach was different from the standard model, starting immediately with low cost, low risk activity and growing organically from day one. Step by step a phased programme re-invested any surplus into arts activity and new buildings. By responding to demand and opportunity it is now a thriving community of over 500 people occupying 90,000 square feet of space, of which 30,000 is newly developed using USM’s innovative Container City system.
To a rich mix of workshops, studios, offices, live/work accommodation, café and performance and exhibition spaces has been added London’s longest pier, The Faraday School, and tenants ranging from English National Opera, University of East London, The Prince’s Drawing School and Thames Clippers to independent fine artists, musicians, fashion designers and photographers.
The famous covered market has stood for centuries in the heart of one of London’s famous tourist destinations, but when USM took over management in 1997 it was held at weekends only and lacked quality and consistency. Since then it has grown steadily, now trades five days a week, and is renowned for the variety of its arts and crafts goods, complemented by the surrounding shops and pubs. With high demand and a long waiting list for stalls, priority has always been given to designer-makers. Weekly antique and food markets, an arts collective, and regular community-based promotion have all contributed to its becoming a major visitor attraction and a focal point for local life.
In 1994 USM were invited by The Trustees of The Borough Market to devise a masterplan for turning the market around. This was a dying wholesale fruit & vegetable market impacted by the building of the Jubilee Line. We suggested widening the uses, using the estate as a whole to create a new and thriving location which would be carefully managed to maintain the existing wholesale operations. We suggested having a retail market, on the niche food lines and starting in locations where impact can best be made.
Creative Space Agency
USM jointly with CIDA (Cultural Industries Development Agency) took over a fledgling initiative started by ACE (London) and Creative London and turned it into a functioning service. The main aim was to ensure that vacant properties in the private, charitable and state sectors could be used by creatives and artists for short and longer term periods as a way of assisting regeneration through the arts. Over a 2 year trial period the work covered creating a website, working to find building owners who were keen on this approach, generating leads for them and acting as an intermediary in that process, devising a number of exemplar projects and instituting a training scheme.
URBED were commissioned by Chesterfield Borough Council to devise a town centre masterplan for Chesterfield. As the street market makes up an important part of the town centre activity, we were commissioned to undertake a review of the market. The review covered management, marketing and physical impact as well as looking at the market hall which is made up of a series of fixed retail units. We found that the Council were running the market well and it was a major draw for the town. We suggested a range of smaller scale improvements such as a Sunday flea market, a craft market, opening the general market on other days and improving the hot food offer along with a programme of promotion and regular entertainment and improvements to the desire lines to bring pedestrians through the fixed market stalls. While more radical and longer term solutions were also suggested such as re-roofing the stalls and looking at removal of sections of the fixed stalls along with refurbishment of the market hall.