Location: London, UK
Date: 2014
Client: Westfield
Status: Concept design
Size: 44,000m² retail and restaurants
Credits: ACME Team (Sarah Blahut, Paula Ibarrondo, Friedrich Ludewig, Paolo Moretto, Jan Saggau, Sofia Stefannoni)
Westfield White City is an inward looking shopping centre in the western outskirts of London. It currently houses 360 luxury, premium and high street retailers, restaurants and a large cinema. The existing scheme is architecturally undistinguished apart from its roof-lights originally designed by Ian Ritchie.
Westfield is embarking upon an ambitious expansion to add 70,000m2 of retail space including a John Lewis department store as well as new residential blocks, streets and squares. The vision is to develop the existing roof language further, and to find opportunities to architecturally control more of the floors and walls, so that the resultant space gains a stronger identity and more coherence. The constraints of the new roof dictate two low points where heights have to be compressed to allow parking bridges to pass through above. This constraint has been turned into an architectural opportunity: a diagrid pattern has been chosen to carry the main roof forces, resulting from the intersection of two arrays of leaning arches. The variation of the angles and heights generates distorted lozenges, alternating glazed and solid to create a well shaded space with no excessive solar gain. The geometry of the ceiling becomes a device to filter daylight, and the plasticity of the surface produces a dynamic and dramatic effect that foreshortens the length of the mall and defines a pattern informing all other surfaces of the space.