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FIRST LOOK

Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands completes 17-storey mixed-use scheme in Southwark

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Six floors of hotel rooms integrate with restaurants, bars and function rooms plus 4,000m2 of flexible co-working office space

The Hoxton Southwark, situated on an awkward, narrow site on the busy Blackfriars Road, is clad in precast buff and dark-brown brick panels. This is softened at street level by a more permeable façade, with ground and mezzanine floor restaurants, bars, conference rooms and public areas opening out on to an awning-covered front seating area and upper terrace. 

Lds the hoxton southwark c paul riddle 07

Lds the hoxton southwark c paul riddle 07

Below this, the basement contains logistics and kitchens, while above six floors of hotel rooms provide rooms of different sizes ranging from 16 to 25m2. A further six floors of flexible office space provide new offices for start-ups and sole traders, while a higher-ceilinged 13th floor has a winter garden designed to act as a breakout/crossover space for co-workers. Unusually, a floor of HVAC and other plant is placed on the interstitial 14th floor, with above this, a top floor contains a seafood restaurant and sky bar, with a terrace-cum-loggia type space facing north over central London – with both floors expressed architecturally as a ’crown’ to the building.

The mix of uses is a first for the Hoxton brand and reflects a complicated project history that originated in a 2005 Derwent London office scheme. But the design is intended to place emphasis on future change and adaptability too, with floorplates able to be adapted and reconfigured between hotel, workspace, residential and retail uses, with the six-passenger lifts serving all floors allowing for this flexibility. 

Lds the hoxton southwark c paul riddle 05

Lds the hoxton southwark c paul riddle 05

Architect’s view

The Hoxton Southwark is an example of the hospitality sector leading trends in co-working and co-living by treating premises and buildings as active and integrated rather than passive resources. This multi-layered building picks up from one of our earliest and best-known projects, Oxo Tower just round the corner on the Thames. Oxo also provides a very varied and integrated mix of uses including affordable co-op apartments, independent shops, designer-maker studios, a gallery plus the emblematic Harvey Nichols Oxo Tower brasserie and restaurant at roof level, still going strong after 25 years of operation.

Lds the hoxton southwark c the hoxton 13

Lds the hoxton southwark c the hoxton 13

Change has been a constant theme in the project; as the circumstances have altered, so too has the vision. After gaining planning consent for a 12-storey office building in 2005, the 2008 financial crash caused the project to be put on hold, and we didn’t start work again until 2013, when the potential for a change of use emerged. Joining forces with The Hoxton, who had successfully launched hotels in Shoreditch and Holborn, Derwent decided to create a mixed-use building that would combine offices with a hotel. Responding to a consultation, the publicly accessible sky-bar was also added, culminating in a revised planning approval in 2015. As the scope and importance of the hotel increased, and The Hoxton’s responsibility with it, the design has increasingly developed to more closely align with its evolving hotel brand.

The radical evolutions of the scheme that have already occurred in this relatively small window of history emphasise the importance of setting up the building for future challenges to prolong its useful life. As Stewart Brand put it so eloquently, ‘A building is not something you finish, a building is something you start’. So the present hotel rooms can be converted to offices or vice versa and all the floorplates could be reconfigured as apartments. Likewise the rooftop restaurant could be altered to become penthouse flats and the ground and first floors could morph from reception and function spaces to offices.

Alex Lifschutz, director, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Lds the hoxton southwark c the hoxton 18

Lds the hoxton southwark c the hoxton 18

Client’s view

The Hoxton has always set out to do things differently, and we are continually evolving as a brand in response to guest demands and the trends we’re seeing among travellers. We’re quite unique as a hotel as we set out to position ourselves as a destination for both guests and locals, with everything from our open-door lobby culture to our events programme, Hox Friends initiative and destination restaurants being designed with both in mind. 

Martina Luger, chief marketing officer, Ennismore 

Hoxton drawings no title page 02

Hoxton drawings no title page 02

Ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site September 2016
Completion September 2019
Gross internal floor area 14,106m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 15,592m2
Form of contract Design & Build
Construction cost £55 million
Architect Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands
Client Ennismore Group (the Hoxton)
Structural engineer Arup
M&E consultant NDY
QS AECOM
Planning consultant Tibbalds
Fire engineer Jeremy Gardner Associates
Catering Tricon
Transport & logistics TTP
Acoustic consultant Clarke Saunders
Project manager Gardiner & Theobald
CDM coordinator PFB
Approved building inspector MLM
Main contractor Kier
CAD software used Autodesk/MicroStation
Annual CO2 emissions Not supplied

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