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Rogers to replace 'unsympathetic' 1980s Cork St office

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has submitted plans for replace an ‘outdated and architecturally unsympathetic 1980s office’ refurbishment behind London’s Royal Academy of Art with flats and galleries

The proposed development of 29-30 Old Burlington Street and 22-27 Cork Street for client Native Land will be the arcade to be built in Mayfair since the 1930s.

The nine-storey scheme includes 1,998 m2 of retail space designed for gallery use - doubling the amount of gallery space currently on site - as well as 42 flats.

It is understood Native Land is intending to enter a ‘binding commitment’ with the local authority Westminster City Council to guarantee that ‘at least half’ this new retail space is let to galleries, including the developments’ entire Cork Street frontage.

Alasdair Nicholls, chief executive of Native Land, said: ‘We’re committed to reinforcing Cork Street’s reputation as a world class art district and maintaining its position as one of a number of international arts market hubs within London. Enhancing the character of the area with new gallery space will be an important factor in the success of the accompanying residential development.’

Graham Stirk, partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, added: ”The real joy of the project will be an unexpected vista of complexity and colour which hides behind a cool exterior of simple, flexible residential accommodation; it is a building that only reveals its true modernity after crossing the threshold.’

The architect’s view

[Our] design provides a positive contribution to the streetscape of Old Burlington Street and Cork Street, with street-facing facades comprising a series of bays in proportion to the nearby former townhouses. The development will comprise two linear buildings, connected by a single translucent core and new arcade. At the upper levels, the façade is inclined and is set-back to respond to the buildings neighbours.

The proposed materials have been carefully selected to reflect the architectural heritage of the area. The dark structural frame will include crushed granite, basalt and mica broken up by a series of light stainless steel frames, surrounding windows and hand-made bricks. This matches the colour contrast of surrounding buildings with their brick facades and white window frames.

Native Land, the Mayfair-based development company, is managing the proposed development, after acquiring the site freehold in August 2012 in a joint venture with Hotel Properties Limited (HPL), the Singaporean hotel, property and retail group, and Amcorp Properties Berhad (Amcorp), the Malaysian property, engineering and infrastructure group. The re-development proposals were drawn up partly in a response to the expiry of all the leases later this year, which presented a clear opportunity to improve the site. In December 2012 Native Land secured funding for the development via a £90 million debt facility from OCBC Bank of Singapore.

Readers' comments (1)

  • ”The real joy of the project will be an unexpected vista of complexity and colour which hides behind a cool exterior of simple, flexible residential accommodation; it is a building that only reveals its true modernity after crossing the threshold.’

    WTF are you on, Mr. Stirk????

    Maybe BD could run a new award alongside the Carbuncle Cup for the most meaningless architectural twaddle of the year?

    The Plain English Campaign ran the Golden Bull Award for "the worst examples of written tripe" so maybe the Golden Rectangle Award for "the worst examples of architectrual written tripe"?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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