Roman Imprints in Contemporary London

Architecture, Roman Imprints

Final design and research thesis, MA Architecture and Historic Urban Environments, The Bartlett, 2018

Since its beginning in the 1st century AD up to the present day the City of London has been subject to constant change and alterations. While its city layout is a heterogeneous and dense urban carpet today, the City’s main structure proved to be a robust antagonist to iterative destruction horizons occurring during the last two millennia. This research and design project investigates the historical components provoking changes within the original Roman city layout and successive alteration towards its contemporary condition by asking the question: How do its Roman origins manifest in the contemporary urban layout of the City of London?

The methods applied to this thesis resemble two archaeological techniques: The stratigraphic excavation – a method where one layer after the other is removed – is applied to the horizontal urban survey. The quadrant excavation, which defines a certain orthogonal area in order to vertically survey all cut through layers. It is applied to the in-depth research and design part of this thesis.

Every layer of information gathered can be located within a vertical diagram as well as three-dimensional space. Finally, with the connection of the historic layers to time, a fourth component is added to the scheme. Due to the complexity of the assemblage of all layers underneath the ground in the course of different periods of time, it is one of the aims of this thesis to make the evolutionary factors of the contemporary City visible in three physical models.