Located on a prominent corner in the heart of London’s West End, the site is in the centre of the Soho Conservation Area fronting onto one of London’s most popular and oldest fruit and vegetable markets on Berwick Street. The owner of the site, Derwent Valley Holdings, wanted to replace the existing 1930s Post Office building with its cramped layout and low ceilings, with a dramatic design that featured large, modern, flexible floorplates and excellent day lighting in the heart of Soho. In order to maximise the development potential of this unique and desirable site, the building needed to be designed to be let either as separate tenancies or as a single let, and as either cellular or fully open plan, as dictated by market requirements. The inclusion of public uses on the lower ground and ground floor levels would complement the office space and link the building to the busy surrounding streets.
At the same time, the local planning authority, Westminster City Council were keen that the building should become an exemplar for modern design within their historic Conservation Area. The prominence of the site and the sensitivity of the context resulted in a lengthy planning process spanning two years, with extensive consultation with the Royal Fine Art Commission and English Heritage.
In addition to the requirement to provide a high quality architectural solution to the brief and to meet the planning requirements, the client also brought a detailed Environmental and Technical agenda to the project that would need to be tested on an ongoing basis throughout the design process. The specification required low energy consumption levels, maximum day lighting and the control of solar gain to reduce the demand for heating and cooling. There was also a strict environmental audit trail designed to record and control the environmental impact and longevity of the materials used in the construction of the building.
|Civic Trust Award - commendation 2004|
|RIBA Award 2003|
|Estates Gazette Architecture Award 2001|
|Dates||1996 – 2002|
|Gross Internal Area||32,000m²|
|Number of Floors||6|
|Client||Derwent Valley Holdings plc|
|The Architect||Richard Rogers Partnership|
|Yasmin Al-Ani Spence, Maurice Brennan, Maxine Campbell, Mike Fairbrass, Stig Larsen, Annette Main, Andrew Morris, Tamiko Onozawa, Richard Rogers, Stephen Spence, Martin White, John Young|
|Acoustic Consultant||Arup Acoustics|
|Main Contractor||John Sisk & Son|
|Project Manager||Buro Four Project|
|Quantity Surveyor||Davis Langdon & Everest|
|Structural Engineer||Ove Arup & Partners|
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