Highbury Substation Phase 2


The client:

As part of the National Grid’s need to improve the appearance of the new substation on 107-129 Seven Sisters Road in Finsbury Park, Townscape Products successfully installed ten printed precast concrete panels on the substation’s four-metre-high back wall, providing an artistic façade for nearby residents.

In phase two of the project, the National Grid appointed Townscape to produce further printed precast concrete artwork which would enhance the substation’s surrounding perimeter wall.

The brief

With houses and shops surrounding the substation built as part of the area’s revitalisation project, the National Grid was keen to ensure that the substation and its boundary wall – constructed as part of a seven-year project to meet increasing demand for electricity in London – further enhanced the look of the area.

As with phase one of the project, the brief for Townscape was to use printed precast concrete to transform what would have otherwise been a bland wall into a striking piece of artwork, improving the aesthetics for residents.

The installation:

Tony Marwick of Markwick Architects developed an illustrative design, which incorporated both the history of Seven Sisters, and, to portray the substation as an inclusive and vital addition to the area, the history of electricity.

Bringing Tony’s design to life, Townscape manufactured 22 faceted concrete panels spanning two sides of the boundary wall, complete with recesses along the bottom to incorporate atmospheric strip lighting.

The casting process used to produce printed precast concrete allowed the architect carte blanche to design a detailed piece of artwork that would resonate with and engage passersby. With the design concept realised, the artwork was transferred onto a patented membrane. It was then chemically etched onto the concrete panels.

The results:

Townscape was able to take the architect’s vision and create an intricate piece of artwork, detailing dates and important historical figures significant to Seven Sisters and the history of electricity.

Townscape produced an exciting concrete product, which addressed the need for a visually appealing piece of artwork that was also cost-effective – a result that couldn’t be achieved without printed precast concrete.

The perception that concrete is bland, uninspiring and unimaginative has now been turned on its head with this eye-catching design that is now a focal point for the community.

The insight:

This project is testament to the fact that concrete can be functional, cost-effective and exciting.

With the potential to cast virtually any design into printed precast concrete at varying depths, educational buildings, hospitals, transport hubs – in fact any public building – can be transformed.


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