Strand Aldwych Global Cultural Thinking Quarter
What is the Strand Aldwych Global Cultural Thinking Quarter?
The eastern Strand and Aldwych area is an iconic part of London and is one of the busiest areas in the West End with more than 13.8 million visiting the area each year. The cluster of higher education, cultural and entrepreneurial spaces at the eastern Strand and Aldwych is one of the most important in the UK.
It is home to two world class universities, King’s College London (KCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE), the Courtauld Institute, Somerset House and some of the most popular theatres in the West End. In addition, the area has two High Commissions (India and Australia), and hosts the world’s leading trade expos in London Fashion Week and London Design Biennale.
The area could have a vibrant public realm befitting its cultural, learning and economic stature. However, the gyratory traffic system currently at its heart greatly limits its creative and economic potential, leaving the area struggling with high air pollution, traffic and people congestion, and with limited opportunity to linger.
This project resulted from recognising the potential of the area around the Aldwych and understanding the role that the gyratory, traffic management and the surrounding public realm can play in driving change and innovation. It initiated as a Vision commissioned by the Northbank BID and formed the basis of the investigations, traffic proposals and public realm strategy to create a global cultural thinking quarter in Central London.
Landscape Architects, LDA, have been appointed by Westminster to develop the designs for the new space and this process is currently in its early stages.
Creative Ideas Workshop
As a part of this process, the university's Culture team in collaboration with Somerset House Trust hosted two workshops in May/June 2018 as a first stage in developing some collaborative projects which could ultimately be part of the public facing cultural programme for the Quarter.
The workshop brought together artists, practitioners, academics and students – a number of whom are also resident at the Somerset House site. To develop new collaborative ideas. Out of this 6 projects were given a small amount of funding to develop their ideas further, with the output being a sharing event on the 25 July 2018.