New Civic Centre, Seven Sisters, London.
Fraser Morrison, Sara Lambridis, Maxim Sas, Matthew Barnett, Nic Shewan & Persa Tzemtz
The London School Of Architecture, MArch.
Think Tank Leaders:
Harbinder Birdi, Benjamin Graham,
Krists Ernstons (Hawkins\Brown),
Rae Whittow-Williams (PDP) and
Tessa Baird (OEB Architects)
The project explores the effect of Crossrail on the city of London and the importance of Crossrail 2 to ensure London's future growth is secure. We were tasked with how to design resilient architecture for the rail industry in London that would stand the test of time.
Most importantly TFL and national rail are still unsure as to how to fund the construction of Crossrail 2 and this project proposed a solution through architecture.
We created a series of emerging tools that would allow us to do so.
There the project offers a new type of policy that would turn stations into civic stations to train necessary skills following the Post Brexit skills shortage and offer more jobs in Seven Sisters.
Following this we explored modern methods of constriction to be implemented in the design to make it cheaper and quicker for everyone.
Fraser if you could start by giving us a background on yourself?
I am 22, originally from Dubai, but I have lived in Scotland for more than half my life. Currently I am studying for my Part 2 at the London School of Architecture (LSA). Alongside my studies I am also designing a new 25,000 sqft. gallery in Scotland. I graduated from the University of Edinburgh last year where we study for 4 years, where I worked on an eclectic mix of projects such as an urban design for a city influenced by the anime film Ghost in the Shell, and an architectural proposition for a data centre in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. While in practice at Bennetts Associates, I worked on the refurbishment and addition to the Old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary building. As we move into a time and space that is ever more digital, my interests lie in how architecture and digital technologies can allow a better experience of the built environment, rather than a dystopian, disconnected one.
Your project for Seven Sisters explores alternate construction methods in an attempt to balance the high implementation costs of cross rail 2, what selection of materials were explored, and eventually chosen for your Seven Sisters station?
Initially we looked at Crossrail 1 - the biggest infrastructure project in Europe - and analysed the scale, impact, and importance of such a project. The next project, Crossrail 2, will be even larger, include more stations, and bring more benefits, but ultimately cost a lot more money. We designed a series of 'Emerging Tools', in the form of policies, modern methods of construction, and building systems.
We looked at a huge range of materials, settling on the idea that the building could become a physical timeline of technology in architecture, with more low tech solutions initially, and with the intent of adding futuristic materials later on. Initially the building would be constructed from wood based systems such as CLT and Glu-lam, alongside earth based systems, such as rammed earth wall panels and clay bricks. In the future, the building could utilise anything from transparent aluminium to graphene.
And what were the reasons for these material choices?
It struck us how much earth had been excavated from Crossrail 1 (7 million tonnes), and that while it had been reused, it had been moved by lorry to new sites. We felt that you could keep the materials excavated from the site and implement them into the building, therefore saving on emissions and the costs associated with moving that much earth.
We began exploring the earth building up on our specific site and found we could make everything from clay bricks to rammed earth panels. This would allow us to create architecture that was literally of its place, creating a new architectural typology for Seven Sisters that was very much rooted in its’ context.
The UK is currently one of the world leaders for buildings made from CLT, yet we import almost 98% of our timber from over-seas. We wanted to explore the use of CLT for large scale infrastructural projects such as ours. From research we found that it was not only possible to use in our building, but that we could use it to completely alter your perception of what train stations should look like.
By combining these different materials, you create a very tactile, experiential building, so instead of lots of greys and cold metals, you experience a warmth from the materials around you on your daily commute.
The task of providing resilient architecture for the rail industry is a difficult one especially as TFL is a key component of the London lifestyle, how did you decide to approach this?
To understand how to create resilient infrastructure, particularly in London, you have to understand what TFL does and how they went about getting Crossrail off the ground to begin with. With this base understanding you can quickly see the issues that Crossrail 2 faces: post-brexit skills shortage, lack of public money, etc. The first thing we created was a policy that would be an act of parliament, 'The Skills Act'. It proposes a new form of public private partnership that could start today, and begin skilling people for the project. The learning would take place in Seven Sisters, on-site, in micro-colleges, which after the building is complete would continue to give people the skills necessary for the future as people are required to skill-up more frequently. Fusing business, and education, throughout the station and over-site development would create a building where commuters experience learning and working every day through the architecture.
You were also tasked with designing architecture that would stand the test of time, a difficult task to undertake, of which I personally feel you have achieved very well. How did you tackle this?
Crossrail stations have been guaranteed for a 150-year lifespan. Yet with the increase in population there needs to be new ways of allowing for the future. This was tackled through building systems that would make the building a closed loop, self-sufficient system that would produce more energy than it uses. Piezo-electric tiles would be strategically placed around the station generating electricity from every step, even the trains could be double decked, allowing for more people and utilise regenerative breaking to again generate their own energy.
In an era where demolition seems to be the option of choice, what architecture do you feel will stand the test of time or perhaps already has stood the test of time?
As our lives become ever more digital, with the eventual full scale implementation of advancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT), and decentralized power grids, it is difficult to say. From our project it was evident that for architecture to endure, it needs to be able to cultivate these technologies so that they manifest in our built environment. We are always going to need enclosures to provide our basic needs, but from our project we found that these enclosures need to be increasingly more proficient in how they adapt.
You have a very unique visual style particularly your use of pastel colours, was there anything or anybody in particular who influenced this?
After graduating from my (first) masters, I revisited my final year project to reflect on how successful it was for me. I felt that there was something missing, and so began exploring new ways of drawing. Initially I was inspired by drawings by Barozzi Veiga, SO-IL, and Luis Callejas, and my plans and sections are still very much my own interpretation of those styles. The pastels started to appear when I began rough collages of buildings I love. I spend a lot of time in galleries and so inspiration from all sorts of people ends up in my work. The work of contemporary photographers and web designers, such as Rich Stapleton and Studio Faculty. Their palettes are generally very subtle, with their soft photographs drawing emphasis to particular forms and elements. I too now take photographs with film, I love not knowing the outcome of a photo until I’ve developed it, and through my travels last year these again reinforced my love of pastels.
If you could give one piece of advice to our architecture student followers what would it be?
A lot of the things learned, I learned from my peers, I would make as much effort as possible to work with people on your course, in the same space, and exchange inspirations, experience, etc. This will give you a broader skill set, which has allowed me to design in a very enriching way. Closing yourself off to other peoples skills isn’t useful, I find a lot of people get very caught up in ‘their’ style and you can only get better by trying new things all the time.
Finally where can people find you to keep up to date with your work and your projects?
Currently Instagram is the best place at @fraser_momo. I will be announcing the launch of my new website soon as I plan to start sharing other drawings, and projects, that aren't as architectural. If anyone has specific questions just DM me or drop me an email which you will find on my Instagram.
Our work will also be displayed as part of a free exhibition at the Roca London Gallery, 4th June to 11th August 2018.
The exhibition is called Idencity: six designs from the LSA to challenge the identity of London. This will feature more of our proposals to shake up Crossrail2, superdensify Rotherhithe and remove the Thames Barrier. More information on that can be found at