Not Brockley Central: One New Change

Since we're working on a photo shoot at One New Change with Brockley-based photographic agency Lucid Representation next week, we thought we'd better go and recce it today - our first chance to see it since it opened last autumn.

We weren't entirely sold on the brown stealth bomber based on what we'd seen of it in the media and we'd have been happy for the building it replaced to be retained and remodeled. But, as with the new Spitalfields, the City has proved its critics wrong and built a development that satisfies market demand for familiar brands while creating something unique.

Regularly described as a shopping mall, it's really nothing of the sort, One New Change is a food quarter, where a new Gordon Ramsay will soon nuzzle up next to Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa and where the ubiquitous Eat is joined by the rare treat that is Bea's of Bloomsbury. Nor, despite being called a bulky behemoth does it feel like a giant.

Unlike Westfield, which hermetically seals in its shoppers like punters at a Vegas casino, the building is permeable, encouraging you to dip in and out of it, giving you glimpses of the sky, the streets and the world beyond at all times. It's big by central London standards, but it's no Bluewater. The closest comparison we can think of is The Mailbox in Birmingham.

Best of all, the building positively encourages you to escape the commercialism on its lower floors, whisking you up to its sixth floor in high-speed glass elevators, to its stunning roof terrace. London makes shockingly poor use of its rooftops, but here, it has been turned in to a handsome, humane, public space - a stepped concrete and glass landscape that acts as an altar for the churches surrounding it - not only the enormous dome of St Paul's but also the spire of Wren's St Vedast. God and mammon.

6 comments:

pip said...

I was really disappointed by this shopping centre. Some OK eateries but the rest is yawn-inducing clothes shops and a couple of jewellers. Amazingly frivolous and dull. And a bizarre layout on the upper floors means you have to walk in a big U shape round the lifts to get across the middle section.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, the shops are the least interesting or important thing about it - you want a book or a skirt, there they are, but the space is fun... wait until the summer, that terrace will be absolutely packed.

Hugh said...

It's great to take an espresso up top and sit there thinking about cash.

THNick said...

Shops are particularly meh, nothing other than dull high st stores. but as Nick says, it's all about the food. Also my favourite bit is actually in the basement where they've polished a panel by the lifts so you get a reflection of this view:

http://i.thisislondon.co.uk/i/pix/2010/10/27-new-change415.jpg

Jonathan said...

I used to work the old building and inside it was awful!
But hey that is what you get when you have the needs of building use change over time.

I did love the fa├žade - I agree with many people that it could have been kept and remodelled - this has been achieved all over London and preserves some of our outstanding architecture.
As for what is there now . . .can take it or leave it. Same shops as bluewater or westfield.

My current work building has roof terraces that someone has mentioned - I love being high up and in the open air. Not enough public roof terraces in the capital.

Monkeyboy said...

We have a roof terrace on top of the LU HQ at St James. It's used for BBQs ocasionally, lit with £50 notes obviously.

Luverly.

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