Bishops Square completes the regeneration of the historically important Spitalfields neighbourhood, which bridges the City and the East End, and provides a new public space for London - larger than the Piazza at Covent Garden. Comprising a new covered market area, 3,700 square metres of retail space, 72,000 square metres of offices, along with apartments, community facilities, cafés and restaurants, the scheme has transformed a former wholesale fruit and vegetable market into an eclectic, bustling urban quarter.
The development includes the restoration of the old market buildings along Brushfield Street, with a new covered pedestrian route behind. Lined with shops, this promenade opens up unexpected views of Hawksmoor's magnificent Christ Church Spitalfields. A new headquarters building for Allen & Overy mediates between the tall commercial buildings on Bishopsgate and the smaller-scale historic fabric around Spitalfields Market. It articulates this change in scale in a series of stepped terraces, which form gardens overlooking the square below. At ground level the building is transparent and permeable, forming connections to the surrounding network of pedestrian routes and spaces; and the northern facade is recessed to create a covered arcade for shops and cafés. With the largest commercial photovoltaic installation in Europe, the building harnesses enough energy to power the landscape lighting across the site.
Bishops Square itself lies between the new building and the existing buildings along Bishopsgate and incorporates a sheltered outdoor performance space. Another new space, Crispin Square, which is sheltered by a glazed canopy, links the offices with the old Spitalfields Market. Charnel House, a twelfth-century chapel discovered during archeological excavations on the site, has been preserved and is exhibited with other artifacts within a sunken courtyard, protected beneath a glass pavement. This exhibition is complemented by an ongoing programme of art installations orchestrated by the Spitalfields Development Group, which aims to celebrate Spitalfields' rich history and the evolving nature of the area.