In such a prime location green scenery is a rarity, and obtaining what little there is, is both hugely difficult and expensive. With this in mind, Studio Seilern Architects have decided to take the drastic step of ‘turning the building inside-out’ in order to construct ‘a park within a building’. As the lower and ground floor plates of the complex (424 sq m) currently attain no natural light whatsoever, residential use of these floors has been ruled out. As a result, the entire building is to be lifted off the ground plane to create a large garden at lobby level. On arrival via the Shepherd Street entrance, residents will come upon an open and well-lit garden, past a double-height, glass fronted reception area. This green space is designed to act as a base for a ‘vertical garden’ which will extend through the upper level terraces. In order to combat the constricting street views, Studio Seilern Architects have included internalised facades, exterior terraces and beautiful garden frontages to their residential properties.
The 496 sq m area of the site is composed of three unlisted existing buildings; a 1960s structure, ‘of poor quality [which] does not contribute to the Conservation Area’, an unlisted building thought to date back to the eighteenth century and an additional extension to the 1960s building, ‘of no architectural quality’. Due to the built up surroundings, access to the site is limited, so an underground parking facility for residents’ use is due to be constructed; however the only access to this will be from White Horse Street. The complete development is set to include high-end residential apartments, an apart-hotel and retail facilities alongside the underground parking. Construction is to begin in November 2010, to be completed by May 2012.