Westminster Cathedral Piazza SW1
In June 2010 we were shortlisted for a design competition to provide ideas for the reuse of the piazza in front of Westminster Cathedral. The cathedral used to face onto a narrow space that was cut off from Victoria Street until the 1970s, and suffers still from a lack of civic presence. Our proposal is two-fold, to delineate the ground for use for market stalls, and to build a Baldacchino as a baptistry.
This small temple structure is derived from the scale and form of the side aisles inside the cathedral, and would be made of white limestone. One of the faces would be carved to represent the visage of The Blessed Cardinal John Newman, and over the coming centuries other faces would be carved representing future saints. A drinking fountain could also be used as a baptismal font. The architect of the Cathedral, Bentley, drew inspiration form St Mark's Cathedral in Venice, and by happy coincidence the form of the Piazza and Piazetta St Marco fit almost exactly into the spaces on Victoria Street, and so we proposed to replicate them here, grounding Bentley's brick campanile in London.
A spokesperson said: 'In the current financial climate the plaza project is on indefinite hold'."
The Architect's Journal (23 June 2011)