Location: Chester, UK
Date: 2016
Client: Cheshire West and Chester Council
Status: Detailed Planning
Size: 3,700m²
Credits: ACME Team (Eduardo López Solórzano, Friedrich Ludewig, Paolo Moretto, Penny Sperbund, Antonio Torres Tebar)
A historic capital of Roman Britain, Chester developed into a lively medieval centre of commerce. Chester today is famous for the surviving medieval rows – recessed walkways set above street level which line the main routes through the city. These streets subdivide the centre into quarters, one of which is the site of the new master plan. Since the 1970s, Chester has seen an ever increasing growth of out-of-town competition, resulting in decreasing footfall in the city centre.

The first phase of the new Northgate Quarter proposes to reuse a currently vacant building on Town Hall Square to create a new route into the future Northgate master plan. The historic terracotta façade and some of the interior frame is retained and a new arcade created that expands the currently paper-thin terracotta building into a deep structure. The new arcade creates a clear and legible connection between the Future Market building and the historic Town Hall Square, leading the public through a covered arcade space.

Restaurants will activate both sides  of the arcade, with office uses located in the existing building above. New elevations towards Market Square will provide urban containment to the currently-broken urban block, and through the contrasting use of dark metal cladding to create a typical Chester backdrop for the adjacent sandstone cladding of the civic Town Hall.