Alternative Earl’s Court plans preserve estates and bring back exhibition venue

On 18 May, University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning displayed eight alternative masterplans for the Earl’s Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area.

Each masterplan, prepared by groups of up to four students from the third year and master degree courses, led by tutor Dr Juliana Martins, presented ideas for developing the area very different to the masterplan created by Sir Terry Farrell on behalf of Capco.

Unlike that plan, most of these plans incorporated all or part of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates and re-introduced a major cultural and exhibition facility directly accessible from Earl’s Court station.

Far from being solely based on demolition and luxury flats, some of the plans preserved the historic railway sheds and established a centre for transport engineering excellence, building on the legacy of the Lillie Bridge Rail Underground Maintenance Depot and the Transport for London Training facility at Ashfield House.

Both the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and developer Capco have said they want to review the masterplan for the wider area, amid common agreement that the consented plan for Earl’s Court is not fit for purpose. These fascinating and imaginative contributions show that masterplanning is not the preserve of celebrity architects or self-interested developers. There is an alternative, and there is a better way.

Course Tutor Dr Juliana Martins explains the masterplanning exercises to Robin Hawkes, WKGGCH Board Member

Student Sam (right) explains his masterplan to WKGGCH Board Member Dioscore (left)

Professor Michael Edwards (centre) with Anabela Hardwick (right)

London Blogger Dave Hill talks with West Kensington estate TRA Chair Sally Taylor

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