NEO Bankside comprises 217 residential units in four hexagonal pavilions ranging from 12 to 24 storeys and a six-storey office block, located next to the Tate Modern, one of the most visited museums in the world.
All the buildings of the scheme take their cues from the immediate context and it is the quality of the entire ensemble – rather than the individual parts – which creates drama. The overall design hints at the former industrial heritage of the area during the 19th and 20th centuries, responding in a contemporary language which reinterprets the colouration and materials of the local architectural character. A generous public realm is also created at ground level with landscaped groves defining two clear public routes through the site connecting the riverside gardens outside Tate Modern through to Southwark Street. The permeability through the site was a key driver of the design and the imaginative arrangement of the pavilions provides residents with generous accommodation and maximum daylight.
The steel and glass pavilions fit perfectly into the Bankside landscape; oxide reds of the Winter Gardens echo those of Tate Modern and nearby Blackfriars Bridge, while the exterior’s timber clad panels and window louvres give the building a warm, residential feeling. The pavilions’ distinctive external bracing system has removed the need for internal structural walls and created highly flexible spaces inside the apartments. The bracing is located outside of the cladding plane allowing it to be expressed as the distinct and legible system which gives the scheme much of its charismatic language. The bracing gives a greater richness and depth to the façade and provided a scaling device which helped unify the micro scale of the cladding with the macro scale of the buildings. Glazed lift towers provide all occupants great views of London and the river, and a dynamic expression of the vertical circulation on the eastern side of each building. Winter gardens are enclosed, single-glazed balconies at the north and south ends of each building, suspended from the main structure on a lightweight deck with large sliding screens. They act both as enclosed terraces and additions to the interior living space.
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