Shopping centre floor turned into mini town


Last Week, level one of The Mercury Shopping Centre was transformed into a miniature town by over 250 local students and children as part of Architecture Week.

Students also got the chance to speak with the leader of the council, Damien White in how they would like to see their future town develop.

Inspired by garden cities, Romford’s retail environment and sustainable transportation, young people showed an overwhelming interest at using innovative building techniques to keep the borough green, with students quoting that they would like ‘more greenery everywhere’ and that they would love more ‘eco-friendly’ environments if given a choice for the future.


Given a Romford car-park as a site to develop in the ‘Masterplanners workshop’, Francis Bardsley Academy students came up with ideas to introduce a Romford ‘Garden Market’, ‘eco-apartments’ and a underground ‘urban learning centre’ to inspire young people to be active and love their town.

Younger children at the Romford Utopia workshop also showed a love of parks, with over 10 popping up in the giant map of the town! Deputy Mayor, Councilor Michael Deon was overwhelmed by some of the great ideas that the children had for the town centre, as he performed a ceremonious cutting of a tiny ribbon to ‘open’ the miniature town.

As he took a ‘godzilla-like’ stroll down the ‘to scale’ golden market place, he spotted an observatory, an architecture museum, an airport and even a YouTube shop as some unique elements that would certainly alter the towns landscape!

Deputy Centre Manager Natalie Bays was delighted by the fun had and positive response by both young people and shoppers to Architecture week:

“So many people, young and old, are very interested in what is happening in our town and excited to play a part in that too. It was so nice to see parents and children creating shops and houses together to be placed in their town centre, and also to hear young people having such sophisticated ideas on how they could ‘upgrade’ their environments through lateral ideas and building techniques.”

First Base and Havering Council supported Architecture week which was ran by The Mercury centre management, a team of specialist architects from WSMS, Fletcher Priest and Mccreanor Lavington and arts education organization The NO Collective.

“All of the inspiring teams on this project have worked or have an influence in Romford’s built environment which gave our work experience students from Havering College a great insight into how to improve where they live in their future career paths, which I sincerely hope they do.”

This was the first time that an Architecture Week has been created in The Mercury, and due to such positive feedback from partners and the public, larger scale plans are starting to be drawn up for next year.


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