Rick Mather Architects were appointed by Triangle Investment Group in 2015 to produce a masterplan for their portfolio within Holborn in Central London. Sicilian Avenue was identified as one of the sites which could be redeveloped and better integrated into its setting. Our project builds upon the principles of the masterplan to maximise the potential of Sicilian Avenue after years of under-investment and neglect, so it makes the contribution it should to the area as a whole.
Triangle Investment Group
Rich in history and character Sicilian Avenue is a prominent and delightfully quirky site that is well known, if not necessarily well visited. The presence and facades are extensive, however through disrepair and piecemeal additions, which have gradually undermined the quality of the original, and so require sensitive restoration and upgrade. Original features and materials survive for the most part, although have been sadly lost elsewhere. The history of Sicilian Avenue is rich both stylistically and thematically and by association with Edwardian Bloomsbury & London and revolutions in retail at that time. A period and ambition that is perhaps better understood now than at other period in its 105 year history and is due a renaissance.
The design seeks to exploit a number of opportunities:
A new surface
Reinstating the grandeur of the avenue with a new rich tiled surface, evoking the Sicilian theme and establishing a change of character. The discovered historic drawings indicate the original pattern - equally a reinterpretation could be employed.
Improved public realm
Work with Camden to re-prioritise space to provide more generous pedestrian routes along Southampton Row and Vernon Place, improving connections North to the British Museum as well as amenities and terrace space for Sicilian Avenue.
A balance of restoration, unification and replacement to improve transparency of the retail units.
The provision of larger and more flexible retail units through careful rationalisation of the existing structures and partitions. External qualities are preserved whilst internal spaces can be better used and transparency is promoted.
Embrace the structure and encourage Camden and TfL to provide a characterful and complimentary ‘meanwhile' pop-up use. TfL are repurposing existing assets and built stock across London so why not the ‘Holborn Cut'!
Lead Design and Architect
Rick Mather Architects
Price + Myers Services
Rick Mather Architects