AHMM has completed a landmark new home for the Metropolitan Police in London
Stirling Prize-winning architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has designed an emblematic headquarters for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in London.
The design supports cultural organisational change by creating an effective 21st century workplace that facilitates a sustainable future for the MPS, as well as celebrating the world-famous institution’s long history. The design of the headquarters also conveys a new image for the MPS by creating a building that looks to engage with public and media alike.
The £60m new headquarters is a radical re-modelling and extension of the Curtis Green Building, a 1930s prominent riverside site in Westminster, central London currently owned by the MPS. AHMM’s design has transformed the formerly obsolete building into a compact, bespoke HQ with the addition of new entrance and rooftop pavilions and a thorough reworking of the existing accommodation. The new entrance is designed to create a welcoming and non-institutional yet secure ‘front door’ for the MPS. This also reinstates the iconic revolving sign.
The aspirational project illustrates the MPS’ commitment to good design. The MPS held a design competition to find a renowned architect that could deliver its new image in built form. The result is a major new civic building for this prominent British institution.
The Curtis Green Building, which will now be known as New Scotland Yard, was formerly home to the MPS before its move to the former New Scotland Yard in Victoria in 1967. Designed by William Curtis Green in 1937, it sits on Victoria Embankment within the Whitehall Conservation Area and is surrounded by Grade I and Grade II listed buildings.
AHMM was briefed to create a landmark building that enhanced the famous MPS brand while providing smart, secure and efficient accommodation. The practice – which was also responsible for the interior design – expanded the building’s floor area from 8,691 sq m to around 12,000 sq m (Gross Internal Area) through four contemporary yet respectful extensions to the rear, rear corner, roof and front concourse.
At the entrance, an elegant curved glass pavilion creates a new public face for the MPS with an open, transparent and accessible design that embodies the organisation’s core values. This pavilion sits within new landscaped civic space as an extension of Whitehall Gardens, and acts as a buffer between public and private realms.
Inside the original building, AHMM has rationalised the floor plan to create a flexible office environment to facilitate agile working methodologies and interaction. A glass-enclosed void opens up the centre of the building and houses scenic lifts culminating at the new eighth floor roof pavilion and terrace. This significant rooftop addition provides spectacular function space and is illuminated to give presence at night. An extension to the northwest corner completes the symmetry of the rear elevation and is carried out in Portland stone to match the original façade.
The architectural language is contemporary and restrained to enhance the impressive architectural features of the original building and complement the high quality materials, colours and proportions of the neighbouring Whitehall buildings. These include bronze framed glazing introduced as part of a highly insulated and blast resistant façade, and unitised curtain walling system at the rear extension.
A brick ‘carpet’ in the landscape outside the entrance references the distinctive striped brickwork of the adjacent Norman Shaw-designed North building, another former MPS office. An ‘Eternal Flame’ commemorating MPS officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty has been relocated from the former headquarters to become an accessible external memorial, set within a contemplation pool south of the entrance pavilion.
Paul Monaghan, Director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, commented: “We have been privileged to design and deliver a major civic building on this scale. Our New Scotland Yard preserves and showcases elements unique to the heritage of the Metropolitan Police whilst creating a robust headquarters building, fit for the 21st century in the heart of Westminster.”
Acting Commissioner Metropolitan Police Service, Craig Mackey said “New Scotland Yard is an iconic building that represents almost 200 years of organised law and order in the capital city.
“This new building, in the heart of Westminster and close to the Met’s founding location, New Scotland Yard allows the Metropolitan Police Service to look forward to the future, providing excellent facilities and technology for all officers across London.”
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said of the project: “The Metropolitan Police Service has been protecting our capital city since 1829, working tirelessly every day to keep Londoners safe. This year, the force steps into a new headquarters, just as a new Commissioner takes the reins.”
“The new location for New Scotland Yard, which began life as an annex to the original New Scotland Yard in the 1930s, returns the Met to the heart of Westminster in a slimmed-down, more streamlined, more efficient and better-resourced building fit for the 21st century.”
The new headquarters is part of a bigger rationalisation of the Metropolitan Police’s estate. The sale of the former New Scotland Yard site will release funding for the modernisation of the MPS/The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) estate, and will facilitate a reduction in estate footprint of approximately 55,000 sq m with annual net revenue savings of about £6.5m.
The project demonstrates AHMM’s ability to work with key establishment clients and in sensitive heritage contexts, as well as underlining its extensive workplace expertise. Other ongoing projects include the residential-led regeneration of the former BBC Television Centre in White City, west London, and the new-build White Collar Factory workplace at London’s Old Street.
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