Tag Archives: London car parks

Have they lost the plot?

Once, just a major route through East London, Great Eastern Street is now at the heart of Shoreditch, filled with vibrant nightlife, a trendy hotel, quirky pubs, and pricy restaurants. And did I mention the pair of tube carriages mounted on the opposite roof? The road forms one side of the ‘Silicon Triangle’ a hub for internet entrepreneurs which makes the area a desirable spot for many.

Slap bang in the middle of this trendy neighbourhood is the redundant NCP Great Eastern Street car park which is permanently closed and now stands derelict.

So far, now with fewer commuters travelling by car, nothing unusual.

The grandly named American Car Wash Company occupies the ground floor and the forecourt. Although how Americans wash their automobiles differently from us is not explained.

The rest of the tower remains unused and has now been filled with graffiti, and the derelict building looks run down and uncared for in the heart of this trendy part of London.

The Londonist dubbed it as one of the capital’s ‘ugliest’ buildings, surely with all the competition around London, quite an accolade.

Given its prime location, it’s not hard to imagine that the premium spot will be snapped up, ripe for more ‘executive’ apartments.

If this 10-storey edifice was in leafy Kensington, the wrecking ball would already be at work. But here in ‘edgy’ Shoreditch, some are advocating its preservation.

Some time ago the roof was used for a fashion shoot: Romantic Poverty. Rhiannon Jones sent out models in her label Bol$hi.

According to MyLondon.news: one Google review from five years ago said: “Little bit run down looking but is full of the London spirit. Buzzy and lively. Even though it may need a bit of attention from the council, it has its own charm that I find great when visiting London.”

Featured image: Shoreditch: Multi-storey Carp Park on Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch by Peter McDermott (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Welbeck Street car park

Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building which you might have passed without noticing.

Welbeck Street car park can hardly be described as little and marks a sea-change from the neo-classical usually featured, with its mid-20th century Brutalism style of architecture it towers above you in a seemingly menacing manner – but bear
with me.

[P]oured concrete structures are not usually my thing – the Barbican with its discoloured walls; the National Theatre now undergoing a facelift so future generations might like it; and certainly not what J. G. Ballard described as: “The true temples of the automotive age”. Car parks are rarely designed to be structures of beauty.

London’s first ever multi-storey car park was built a short distance away in Wardour Street, it is now an O’Neills.

O'NeillsFor the motorist the Welbeck Street car park’s beauty is rarely appreciated situated within a labyrinth of narrow streets, its most attractive feature starting above eye level on the second floor.

The Welbeck Street car park, built in 1970, for Debenhams in Oxford Street, its external structure is formed of tessellated concrete polygons that interlock to present a geometric façade. Its design was deemed worthy to feature in ’Lesser known architecture’ staged by the Design Museum.

In 2009 Colin Wharry recognised Welbeck Street car park’s potential. Working on the premise that car park use in London might soon be curtailed, he hit on the idea to convert the structure into a primary school.

Colin-Wharry Overlaying the façade in glass printed with white dots that increase in radius as they move up the building, it would act as an acoustic barrier the BD student’s design created a new image for this iconic building giving it a blurred out of focus appearance.

Main image by Ben Starkin Photography, who points out that the Welbeck Street car park was quite famously featured at the end of The Chemical Brothers video ’Believe’.