London calling

Nick Myall
26 May 2017

Arney, Fender, Katsalidis secures planning for £130m mixed-use development in Bermondsey

London Borough of Southwark has unanimously approved plans for the 185,000 sq ft residential-led mixed-use refurbishment and new build at Tower Bridge Road, SE1, for First Base and Starwood Capital.

The London Borough of Southwark has granted planning consent for a £130m residential-led mixed-use redevelopment in the heart of Bermondsey, designed by architecture and interiors studio Arney Fender Katsalidis. The development will introduce a curvilinear building form to unify three existing buildings on the site, bring cohesiveness to the scheme and create a new public realm linking Bermondsey to the river.

The scheme, a joint venture between First Base and global private investment group Starwood Capital, will transform the 185,000 sq ft site at 151 -157 Tower Bridge Road, delivering 69 new homes of mixed tenure, 137 for apart-hotel, cafes and restaurants and co-working space around a new public square.

Barry Jessup, Director at First Base, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to revitalise an under-utilised site in one of London’s most dynamic neighbourhoods. Our scheme will deliver much needed new homes in a community setting, with a mix of cafes, restaurants and workspace that respond to the needs of local businesses and residents. It will also re-establish pedestrian routes from Bermondsey to the river, helping to extend this vibrancy of Bermondsey High Street south. We look forward to working with Southwark Council to bring forward our plans.”

Earle Arney, Chief Executive of Arney Fender Katsalidis, said: “We are delighted with our collaboration with First Base and Starwood Capital and the design vision we created with the London Borough of Southwark. 151-157 Tower Bridge Road is a project of civic repair at both the architectural and urban scale. Existing structures are adaptively reused, delivering much-needed housing for Londoners in a significantly reduced time period, while also enhancing the environmental sustainability of the development. The result is a reduction of over 1800 tonnes of CO2 which is equivalent to 720,000 trees.

The development, while very much of its time, deploys raw and robust materials to connect with the warehouse grain and materiality of Old Bermondsey. These textures are contrasted with glass-edged undulating balconies, the rhythm of which ensures deep light penetration to all apartments.  A new square at the centre of the development creates a civic heart for the local community and will provide cafes, restaurants and co-working commercial spaces.

The development will open previously blocked walking routes across the site and establish for the Borough the potential of a green pedestrian spine linking St Mary Magdalen Churchyard Gardens to City Hall. We look forward to breathing new life into these neglected buildings and refreshing this part of Bermondsey with new public spaces and transformative pedestrian through-routes.” 

Arney Fender Katsalidis’ design draws inspiration from the greenery in the neighbouring St Mary Magdalen’s Churchyard site. The existing buildings will be reclad and the dark and closed façades will be replaced with hanging cantilevered balconies and terraces. The new façade will connect each apartment to the exterior and create an organic, unified form throughout.

The building’s relationship with Tower Bridge Road will be enhanced and re-orientated through the creation of a new link from Newham’s Row and Bermondsey High Street. The new walkway will open up the public realm and commercial space at the base of the development, whilst also activating a new connection between Bermondsey Village and the Thames. 

Residential layouts will be reconfigured with the small units and studios being replaced with larger, improved units, which meet and exceed London Plan Standards. As well as offering an enhanced aparthotel, the residential units will benefit from improved balcony amenity space.

The WAN Awards Future Projects category is now open until 30th June.

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Nick Myall

News editor

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