Peter Murray


On 8 November around 300 members and non-members of the Society came together in St Marylebone Parish Church to hear Sir Terry Farrell give this year’s Sir Banister Fletcher Lecture which he called “Shaping London”. Saul Collyns reports.

cwwxrnxw8aakfbyIn the 2016 Sir Banister Fletcher Memorial Lecture,renowned architect and urban planner Sir Terry Farrell, set out a fascinating viewpoint of London that revealed new connections between London’s past, present and future.

Farrell began by underlining the importance of ‘place as client’ as the guiding principle of his work. He believes in examining what a place aspires to be, separating it from any client base in order to fully understand its intricacies.

Farrell’s place-based approach has compelled him to study the different factors that have shaped London’s development, and he captivated us with some of his findings. London has grown organically, with much of its geography dictated by the River Thames. A fascination with the river’s bends led Farrell to realise that it was always deeper on the outside bend, with a build up of silt on the inner bend. As the city grew, large settlements such as Kingston and Richmond were built on the outer bends, which are easily navigable by boat, whereas parks or areas of low land value are located on the inner bends (notably the city’s numerous docks). A lack of river crossings in east London has also impeded connectivity and thus development. No flat-level bridges (which Farrell considers to be a crucial component of city making) cross the Thames downstream of Tower Bridge, so Farrell recently proposed a plan for 8 new low-rise bridges to the east, which would provide much needed connectivity to support more housing development.

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