Chipperfield picked for Elizabeth House scheme

Posted on by John Cronin

Architects David Chipperfield have won the competition for a commission to design the replacement for Elizabeth House in London.

three sistersThe Elizabeth House site is currently occupied by a 1960’s building standing on a prime site in York Road, London right next to Waterloo Station. Previous plans for three towers (pictured), two for office space and the other for residential, had been much derided and were dubbed “the ugly sisters”. One of the office blocks planned was for 27 storeys, the other 22.

The £1 billion development plans put forward by Allies and Morrisons were initially blocked in 2008 by London Mayor Boris Johnson on the grounds that the towers would spoil some of London’s historic views, including those of Big Ben. After appeals by the developer, the then Communities secretary John Denham vetoed the plans in 2009 because “they would harm the Westminster World Heritage Site and local listed buildings including the Royal Festival Hall”.

Whilst indicating that tall office and residential blocks were generally suitable for the site, Denham concluded: “the two office towers did not possess the balanced, sculptural or elegant qualities crucial to the success of tall buildings”.

The existing 240,000 sq ft block and development site was bought by London & Regional Properties from P & O Estates for £85m in an all-cash transaction in March 2010. The new owners indicated at the time that they would put forward revised plans for a smaller footage development.

Having won the design commission from competing practices Grimshaw Architects and Hopkins Architects, Chipperfield now have the task of producing a design that is sympathetic to the area.

Headline rental prices for serviced offices within Elizabeth House are approximately £29/sq ft for centrally heated floor spaces and approximately £23/sq ft for comfort-cooled areas.

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