A brand new cultural hub has launched beneath the rail viaducts in London’s Bankside, featuring a range of diverse spaces including a theatre, an aerial fitness school, a Tel Aviv-style restaurant and an Italian butchery.
Called Old Union Yard Arches, the hub sits beneath ten double height railway arches that have been redeveloped for use as creative and cultural spaces. The opening is part of the Low Line, a plan implemented by Network Rail, Better Bankside and Southwark Council, with the long term goal of creating a walking route along the base of the rail viaducts that aims to link together the neighbourhoods between London Bridge and Waterloo, Blackfriars and Elephant and Castle. The new cultural stop complements another recent development called Flat Iron Square, a hub for food lovers along the route that includes an assorted of food trucks, bakeries and bars.
As well as housing Cervantes Theatre, the first Spanish and Latin American theatre in London, Old Union Yard Arches is the new home of Union Theatre, which was founded by artistic director Sasha Regan in 1997. An aerial fitness school called Flying Fantastic has also opened, making use of the overhead arch structure to create a unique and dynamic space for exercise. The Africa Centre also sits beneath the arches, celebrating the art and culture of Africa as well as offering a space that nurtures cultural exchange, collaboration and educational programmes. Visitors will be able to choose from two new eateries while visiting the hub, Macellaio, an Italian restaurant and butchery as well as Bala Baya, a Tel Aviv restaurant and bakery.
“The opening of the Union Yard Arches signals another step towards realising the Low Line vision in Bankside. We want to give small, independent businesses the opportunity to thrive in a burgeoning neighbourhood, and cement the area as a cultural hub in south London. The regeneration of these renowned viaducts has been significant and is key to stimulating the further regeneration and development of the wider area, bringing substantial direct and indirect economic benefits to London and to neighbouring areas of change,” said Donald Hyslop, Chair of Better Bankside. The site also includes a landmark public art installation by artist Rachel Wilberforce called Cyclorama, a sculpture that can be viewed from Union Street and Great Suffolk Street. Old Union Yard Arches is open now, with more information about visiting available on the official website.
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