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DC CABE backs Rogers' Embankment tower plans

DC CABE has welcomed plans by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) for a ‘tripartite tower’ overlooking the Thames at Eastbury House, Lambeth

The design watchdog praised the tall mixed-use scheme, which was submitted for planning in June, saying it had ‘the makings of a successful urban development’.The project for St James Developments will replace Ian Fraser’s 1958 building with three skyscrapers of 14, 21 and 28 storeys and involves splitting the groundfloor into a trio of bays.

DC CABE described RSHP’s design as ‘well-proportioned’ with ‘pleasing dimensions’, adding: ‘[The] case for a tall building on the site is a good one, helping to create a more interesting skyline on this stretch of the Albert Embankment through a varied approach to building heights.

‘The decision to pursue a tripartite plan for the tower is an astute move; this simple idea enables the building to make the most out of a constrained site for the benefit of the building’s occupants and the wider public.

‘The subdivision of the floorplate into three bays to reflect neighbouring building plots in the conservation area will help the building relate more comfortably with its lower scale neighbours at street level.’

While the architect’s efforts to improve public realm around the site were generally approved, CABE warned the plans will require ‘close working with the local authority to ensure these spaces perform convincingly as a piece and deliver the quality desired’.

Particular concern was expressed over the landscaping of the piazza and its relationship with the railway arches to the east. The commission also called for a ‘borough-led vision’ for the rejuvenation of Albert Embankment Park – something it cites as a critical factor in whether or not the site becomes a ‘true destination’.

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