Smithfield East & West Market is a unique cultural destination at the heart of London, curated by the creative industries and anchored by a food futures and co-making centre housed in the historic market building in Clerkenwell.

Axonometric drawing of the market and rotunda

The project was commissioned by the Corporation of London to complete the cultural mile, creating a world-class cultural destination that would work in synergy with the (adjacent) Museum of London, School of Music and Barbican Centre. The brief requested that we protect and celebrate the heritage of the building and its historic location as a place of trade, commerce, and interaction. It also emphasised the need to provide a programme which would be public, creative and based on the principles of the circular economy.

Diagram showing urban connections

Our response was to make a sequence of unusually vast, flexible and adaptable spaces, linked by expressive circulation elements, cuts into the historic fabric with linking stairways, theatrically serviceable via lifting gantries and hoists - harking back to the building’s original hoisting of meat carcasses between its floors.

Visualisation of interior atrium

The building was split into a number of core uses, or ‘fields’: East Fields, a flexible covered event space that will provide a platform for world-class cultural events, exhibitions and markets; West Field, a free indoor public space with the opportunity for large scale sculptures, seating, work tables, and children’s play; Far Fields, London’s largest food-tech and co-making space - a production campus of organisations devoted to inventing, creating and building a sustainable world; and The Rotunda, a venue for arts, history, and cultural events, creating a new spiral promenade gallery space for interpretation: touring art shows, the history of Smithfield and much more.

Visualisation of the entrance stairway

We worked with a team of experts from across the cultural, food and built environment sectors: Expedition Engineering, Gardiner & Theobald cost specialists, artists Something & Son, Heritage specialists Stephen Levrant Heritage Architecture, Useful Projects sustainability specialists and Donald Hyslop of Borough Market and TATE.

Periscope reached the final shortlist of the Smithfield Market competition with Eric Parry Architects, Haworth Tompkins, and WilkinsonEyre. The competition was won by Studio Egret West.

Photograph of sectional model

Detail photograph of model