Traditional police boxes in the Square Mile are set to be reimagined as new ‘Digital Service Points’ after the City of London Corporation announced the winning design.
The police box design competition winner, ‘The London Stones’ by architecture and design studio Unknown Works, includes space for digital information screens, essential communication technology and for the storage of life-saving emergency equipment.
They can also serve as a dedicated hubs for on-beat City of London Police officers and as a space for community engagement and events.
Details from buildings, stories and images of the past, present and future of the Square Mile will be collected to be digitally carved into the stone exterior of the Digital Service Points – providing an active and engaging addition to the public realm.
The winning design is in line with the City Corporation’s ambitious Climate Action Strategy, including the use of sustainable construction material (predominantly stone and recycled steel), natural lighting and passive ventilation, solar panels and power generation, and a unique approach to ecology.
The London Stones police boxes will also become a base for real scientific research, including pollution monitoring and planting projects to encourage biodiversity and invite forgotten species back into the City once again.
The stone exterior will play host to a vast array of lichen colonies and species which, over the course of their slow growth, will evolve in their colour and appearance.
The Digital Service Point competition, run by the City of London Corporation, City of London Police, New London Architecture (NLA) and Bloomberg Associates, was born out of a public and stakeholder engagement exercise looking at security in the Square Mile, including police visibility and contact, as part of the Secure City Programme.
The police box designs were judged on their innovation and originality, functional and technological qualities, accessibility and inclusivity, approach to sustainability, and response to the City’s history and identity.
Director + Co-founder of Unknown Works, Theo Games Petrohilos, said: “This project sets out a real ambition for changing the way that people engage with the City, it’s story and the police – and we’re delighted to have been chosen along with our project team to take this work further.
“Our starting point was the London Stone, a humble fragment of the City’s past that’s been watching the City grow for thousands of years. It’s mottled skin hums with myth and wonder – something we hope to echo in The London Stones.”
Chairman of the Streets and Walkways Sub Committee at the City of London Corporation, Graham Packham, said: “This thrilling design by Unknown Works has transformed the humble police box into an innovative and creative ‘Digital Service Point’ which is entirely suitable for the 21st Century and will serve the Square Mile’s residents, workers and visitors long into the future.
“This winning concept design provides the blueprint for a key piece of infrastructure for the Square Mile, whilst also being sustainable and entirely complimentary to the unique City environment.”