Making that breakfast meeting first thing. Catching your connecting train, the gym class you've only made once – but still pay for. Or making it home in time to read that bedtime story.
We're paving the way to give you the time that matters most in your day – making the changes needed to transform your commute at Holborn.
Imagine a day when you no longer queue on Kingsway and fight the crowds changing paths between Central and Piccadilly Lines. When you can access your route via lift and escalator and enter via Procter Street to reduce your commute. That day is coming.
We all love our thriving Midtown community. Our district is growing in vibrancy, diversity, economy and opportunity. So, it's no surprise that capacity is estimated to increase by 20% in the mornings and 29% in the evenings by 2031.
Designed in 1900 Holborn is now currently the City's 14th busiest station. Its last upgrade was in 1930 when the Capital was a bustling hive of metropolitan boroughs-before the need of environmental and accessibility requirements. But we are Midtown – the Capital's capital. And with the latest figures showing 56 million visitors travelling through Holborn each year – now's the time for expansion to accommodate our social and commercial growth. Our CEO, Tass Mavrogordato explains:
"Midtown works hard, plays hard and values every passing second. We're embracing the advent of environmental innovation and our district sets a vibrant example for workers and visitors. We're committed to less congestion, less crowding and greater connections through the capacity improvements at Holborn alone."
We're working together with TfL and are driving change. We've invested funding and resource and following a public consultation where 98% agreed with the need for the upgrade, are dedicated to securing Midtown as home to London's best-connected postcodes, WC1 and EC1 – soon to be ‘bookended' by the opening of the Elizabeth Line at Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon.
Our dialogue with TfL began in 2009 and we've been actively involved in the progression of the upgrade since then. It's now a live long-term project that both Bee Midtown and TfL are committed to. As a complex construction job, things are going to take time but we want to reassure you that the proposed upgrade is gathering serious momentum. Mark Wild, Managing Director of London Underground, affirms:
"The expansion of Holborn Tube station will make life better for the tens of thousands of customers who use it every day. It is an important station, serving a broad range of local institutions and businesses, but it is clearly increasingly not fit for purpose. The consultation showed people are fully behind our proposals to transform the station."
Think Oslo, Helsinki, Singapore – leading examples of some of the globe's most environmentally advanced cities. And now think Midtown, London, because you and your business have a unique opportunity to be part of a pilot that will attract global attention.
Londoners consume more plastic bottled water per person than anywhere else in England: on average more than 3 plastic water bottles every week — a startling 175 bottles every year per person.
London's recycling rate is below the national average and has stagnated over the past 5 years. London burns over half of its waste for energy: over 2 million tonnes of waste are incinerated each year, and this amount has more than doubled in the past decade.
Organic waste or recyclable materials are unnecessarily going to incineration — including materials such as plastic, that are potentially hazardous to health when burnt. Once these materials are burnt, they are lost and can't be used within a circular economy.
Together with the Evening Standard, Midtown is joining the mission to make sure our city remains the best place in the world. And one that chooses sustainable sources over plastic. Future London is a two-year campaign that will focus on tackling five issues that matter to Londoners like you, with a practical and positive approach. The London Evening Standard have teamed up with major London businesses including UBER, Source London, Google and BEE Midtown to drive the campaign forward.
The big five include the:
Future London allows the private sector the power to create a legacy and improve our community through social responsibility.
As a catalyst for change, Midtown has been exclusively chosen by the Evening Standard to pilot a plastic-reducing scheme to revolutionise the way we source sustainable materials as an alternative. And the eyes of the world's Capital's will be watching.
We're leading where others will follow, as a beacon of sustainability across the city. In Midtown alone we've found ways to reduce our waste, change our daily habits and detox our district. We're working with you to source alternative products to help project Midtown as the leading plastic-reducing destination for work and leisure. A place where businesses like yours change society for the better. And saying ‘no' to plastic pollution is just the beginning. in association with the London Evening Standard, that continues to turn the spotlight on Midtown.
BEE MIDTOWN HAVE CREATED GUIDES FOR BOTH BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS TO HELP REDUCE THEIR SINGLE-USE PLASTIC FOOTPRINT WHICH CAN BE ACCESSED THROUGH THE BELOW LINKS:
WE HOPE YOU WILL JOIN US IN TAKING ACTION TO REDUCE MIDTOWN’S RELIANCE ON PLASTIC!
In March 2019, BEE Midtown called for submissions for the design of a new ‘focal and inventive’ information kiosk to replace the existing fixed structure outside Holborn underground station.
The existing, manned kiosk, located on Kingsway, oversees a bustling location between the City and the West End: a meeting point of history, culture, commerce, education and creativity. The structure aims to welcome, direct and interact with as many visitors as possible. However, the way people communicate, source information and traverse through cities is changing rapidly, and our interactions should change to keep pace.
Our brief to urban visionaries and designers included requirements to reduce pedestrian congestion and provide transparency from different viewpoints. The new structure should include sustainable elements and be fully accessible. A water station and air quality monitoring unit were specified. We also required the design to reflect the creativity that is core to the success and growth of Midtown.
Importantly, the new design will provide information digitally. BEE Midtown has been working with innovative technology companies to develop MyMidtown, a digital information platform to be housed within the newly designed kiosk.
Innovation is core to the success of Midtown, which hosts creative, professional and technical sector specialisms of global significance. Inviting contributions and ideas from our thriving architecture and design community, as well as from further afield, has been key to the energy of this project.
We are delighted to share with you the shortlisted, highly commended and winning designs.
InfoBEE is an eye-catching, interactive, playful information hub. Aimed to bring a colourful ‘burst of joy’ to everyone on the street as well as helping people get the most out of Midtown.
Comprising of three large high-level screens mounted on curvy, colourful posts with integral speakers, below each screen microphones and water fountains are positioned at a variety of levels. Users are encouraged to ask a question out loud and the answer will be displayed on the screen above or sounded out by the speaker.
The entrance area to Holborn Underground is intensely busy, which is a fantastic opportunity to reach out to lots of people. The design drastically reduces the footprint of the current kiosk site, with only a 300mm diameter base touching the ground, giving back some much-needed floor space to the area. Positioning the InfoBEE at the front edge of this site creates a small area away from the hustle and bustle, a space to wait for friends, top up your water bottle from the BEE Midtown water fountain and ask the InfoBEE for directions or some local information.
The InfoBEE has a strong steel base to ensure that it is as robust as an item of street furniture, however above head height the structure uses recycled plastic tubing with integral LED lights, which would create a brilliant night-time presence.
The air quality unit is housed within the large drum at the base of the design, which also provides a display area for both hard copy and digital leaflets. The InfoBEE aims to be sustainable and will use recycled plastic as one of the main structural materials and LED low energy lights for illumination, a rolling display of environmental information will also be presented across the three screens.
The Grade 1 listed Staple Inn is on of Holborn’s oldest and most recognisable buildings, dating back to 1585, and has been described as "No doubt the most impressive surviving example of a timber building in London".
Staple Inn is unique as it no longer resonates the architectural aesthetic that occupies Holborn today, instead it beams with character and speaks of what once was.
The dominating feature to the Staple Inn is its contrasting black visible timber frame that divides the building into sections. The use of linearity to frame sections of the building has been used to influence the design of the kiosk to create individual spaces, replicating the vertical elements of the Staple Inn, but reworked in a more slender and elegant manner.
The proposed kiosk’s primary function is to work unmanned via touchscreen information displays; however, a removable hatch enables for someone to occupy the space for face-to-face interaction. This allows for personal engagement with the public to help suit the needs of everybody as well as making sure the kiosk can be used 24/7 during quieter periods or throughout the night.
Touchscreen information displays are located on the north-facing and west-facing elevations, which are divided by the vertical elements inspired by Staple Inn. This creates individual spaces and privacy for the users; additionally, a water station is located on the east-facing elevation.
A small overhang protects the touchscreens from the elements and allows for some protection for the users but is not large enough to allow for rough sleeping. The overhang creates a small portico with columns adding to the unique form that juxtaposes the Holborn vernacular, where the angle of the roof takes advantage of as much natural light as possible for a photovoltaic panel that powers the kiosk.
The kiosk design aims to create an instantly recognisable focal point within the Midtown area which will help strengthen the BEE Midtown brand.
The simple design concept creates a strong visual connection from all approach routes. The most common of these is via Holborn Station exit which the kiosk directly addresses while information symbols inform pedestrians approaching from the High Holborn, Kingsway and Southampton Row junction as well as from the adjacent Kingsway pavement.
The unattractive existing pillar box and air quality unit equipment are discreetly disguised within the design, while its reduction in size compared to the existing footprint allows pedestrians to move more freely in the space outside Holborn Station.
The information, live data screens and water fountain provide several points of interaction for simultaneous use, while the living green wall on the Kingsway elevation replaces the green roof of the existing kiosk.
The robust and durable design is aimed to require minimal maintenance and does not require manned personnel. Display screens are designed to pivot in order to increase accessibility, while the hard copy information holders and the water fountain are located at heights convenient for adults, children and wheelchair users.
The Marker is an expressive element of High Holborn and creates a gateway to the welfare of London. Inspired by air surveys, its profile makes a subtle reference to air quality index graphs and creates a sense of identity for the new Holborn kiosk
The Marker not only measures the pollution of London, but it also marks both individual and collective journeys. It is used as an indicator and a starting point for new expeditions through London. Furthermore, by promoting sustainability and providing information about the present state of the capital, it inspires to improve it.
Sustainability is a key consideration in our concept; both in its design and its function. The Marker is intentionally designed to inform people about the locale and to inspire a journey through BEE Midtown’s network. We want people to utilise the wayfinding aspect to connect with BEE Midtown’s locations and our vision is that this acts as the first of several similar kiosks, creating an inspirational walking route through the City.
The kiosk incorporates an air quality monitoring unit which will be connected to the wider network and live data can be displayed on the screen. In addition, a water filling station will be situated within the form in a way which prevents vandalism or accidental damage. Furthermore, the construction material for the kiosk has been carefully considered to ensure that it is resilient, durable and maintenance-free. Stainless steel and solid paper composite, both made from recycled materials, are durable and have a lower environmental impact than other material options.
Further sustainable considerations are as follows:
Information sharing is becoming vastly digital, information kiosks no longer require to be manned. The main concept behind this proposal is to lose the barriers and vertical walls that make up a kiosk and create a visually permeable structure. The kiosk stands out as a curious piece in the public realm.
The concept goes hand in hand with Bee Midtown’s initiative to integrate change. The vertical panels make up the dual screens for live data reading and they can cater for several users at a time within a compact space. As a result, there is more room for greening. The kiosk itself would be essentially made up of a large planter.
The planter and planting shall provide security from the adjacent street and integrate all needed kit (such as air quality monitor and water fountain) while softening the interface with the vehicular road.
The concept also challenges the proposed boundary line – strong strokes of colour reach out to the station forecourt, visually luring pedestrians towards the kiosk. The design intent is to break new grounds by rethinking components of the urban landscape. This information kiosk is one of many street structures that could be influenced by technology. There is an opportunity to transform such structures into green, functional and artistically interesting pieces for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.
Versatility and sustainability play a key role in the design of the Hi-Wave. The modular structure is primarily composed of CNC cut marine grade ply, minimising materials and simplifying construction. The finish can be customised to suit the style or location of the area in which they are placed.
The finish is proposed to be scorched timber, as a nod to the 2015 Kingsway fire. Vibrant coloured steel provides the structure within the wooden frame to provide visual emphasis and interest. The simple timber construction enables damaged or vandalised components to be replaced at ease without having to replace the entire structure.