Leicester Square, 1990
The proposal for the renovation of London’s Leicester Square turns the traditional typology of the public square on its head. ‘The idea of designing new fountains to decorate public spaces is redundant. Shoot the square; it’s dead’, commented Hadid. ‘We would rather see Leicester Square as a public room, habitable and submerged beneath the surface, a heart that beats within the city. We would not propose to fill the square with buildings or sprouts of water: we would turn such structures upside down and sink them into the ground. Solid and transparent skyscrapers slicing into the earth could contain accommodation, and water could cascade down these inverted canyons as a cooling mechanism for an overworked heart. Bridges and passages would traverse the voids and solids of the new subterranean fabric, while light slits would remind the visitor of the city’s familiar fabric hovering above’.