Solving the Paddington puzzle

Nick Myall
Tuesday 05 Jul 2016

The Paddington Pole design competition explores new ideas of placemaking following the withdrawal of a Renzo Piano project

HLM and SPARK Architects have been awarded the ‘Innovation Award’ by independent research institute Create Streets for their joint entry to ‘reimagine’ the development at Paddington Place, London. 

The competition set out to find alternative ideas for a new high-quality scheme for Paddington, following the withdrawal of Renzo Piano’s 72-storey Paddington Pole tower in January by developer Sellar. A fresh public consultation with revised plans for the site is expected to be announced by the developer later this year. 

The HLM*SPARK proposal presents diverse uses around Paddington Station while going above and beyond the brief to explore new ideas of placemaking. The team worked together to create a contemporary masterplan that truly embraces a mixed-use development, which responds to and enhances the site’s surrounding buildings and infrastructure, encouraging the growth of multigenerational, sustainable communities within its design. 

Local residents and councillors, who judged the entries, commended HLM and SPARK Architects for the individual ideas within their plan and the inclusion of multiple community considerations, particularly the primary school and Home Farm residential assisted living elements.  

The concept considers Paddington Pole as an opportunity to shift away from isolated uses and building types towards a mixed-use urban district that links positively into the city’s infrastructure. Centred on a core urban Home Farm proposal, the innovative approach to mixed use merges educational needs with health and retail whilst offering a diverse range of residential homes within an urban setting.  

Richard O’Neil, Director for HLM commented: “Paddington Pole has the potential to become a unique city quarter destination within London. The HLM*SPARK proposal adopts a contemporary vision with a diverse range of buildings and uses rather than a single, monocultural development. We wanted to explore the viable inclusion of multiple uses; supporting people of all ages and varying needs to create integrated communities within a vibrant public realm. We believe that through closer collaboration between land owners, public and private sector bodies, creative financial engineering can deliver more long term commercial viability through this innovative placemaking approach.” 

SPARK’s invention of the Home Farm typology provides assisted living and urban farming simultaneously to form a productive and sociable community. Assisted living combined with innovative hydroponic farming creates a productive garden, which is central to the proposal in creating an active working garden environment that encapsulates the ambitions of wellness and life quality combined with a story of organic productivity. 

Other facilities and uses considered within the design included: residential units with a ‘low rise, high density’ vernacular, which aims to extend the London streetscape vertically throughout the building, a primary school with rooftop playground which creates a destination point above the traditionally capped ground floor public realm, as well as office, medical and incubator units embedded within the framework, which surround and frame the central hub, a sunken courtyard, which enhances pedestrian movement, retail capacity, and transportation infrastructure to draw a logical conclusion to the Paddington Puzzle. 

Nick Myall

News Editor

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