It is possible that within the next 20 years, various technologies and societal changes will cause road use in London to fall drastically. In the event of this scenario, how might we make use of the road infrastructure left behind?
Asphalt Aspirations seeks to establish an architectural framework for the future adaptation of London’s arterial road network – a set of principles that embody the car free, localised urban environment of future London. While the development and testing of the framework has been confined to a stretch of the A12 in East London, the principles derived have the potential to inform and lead a wider and more comprehensive redevelopment of the city’s road network.
Responding to the city: Transforming a barrier into a gateway is at the heart of the framework. On the A12, this means opening up to the city’s urban fabric and making the most of the road’s form to connect people to new places and spaces.

Repairing the urban fabric: Removing a road should be like bursting a bubble – the void left behind must be filled by what surrounds it. Uses, scale, and massing blend from one side to the other, whilst ensuring the memory of infrastructure is not completely erased from the city.

A series of spaces: Occupying London’s road network means bringing public land back into the ownership of people, not cars. The A12 masterplan prioritises creating new open public spaces that serve its developments as well as the communities that surround it. Creating a series of spaces counters the monotony of a linear site, whilst making the most of the different conditions the road encounters.

Establishing an architecture: A linear site that expands across London requires a system that is flexible and repeatable; it also requires an architectural language that compliments but differentiates from surrounding contexts. Emulating the scale and rhythm of infrastructure has been used as a starting point, paired with a response to the solidity of the man made landscape of the former road.

Plans for the Landmark tower, located at the gateway of the A12 site
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