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GRID architects completes 98-flat scheme on South Bank


Belvedere Gardens consists of a series of blocks stepping up from 11 to 21 storeys, adjacent to the original 1962 Shell Centre building in London

This mixed-use development in Waterloo is part of the wider 5.3ha Southbank Place masterplan and consists of 98 residential units at upper levels above ground-floor retail.

The scheme’s façade is made of reconstituted stone, bronze profiled metal and glass. At ground level, a double-storey stone frame base is designed to have a civic scale, while above a regular stone grid sits over an inner layer of glazing and bronze panels, intended to vary in tone and translucency, reflecting changes in the light. The metal panels are the most visible application of GRID’s ‘Festival Star’, a motif applied across the scheme referencing the 1951 Festival of Britain to tie into the site’s heritage. 

(c)tcrocker bgdns 02

(c)tcrocker bgdns 02

The secondary metal ‘skin’ also conceals MHVR façade ventilation systems behind perforated panels. A combined heat and power (CHP) plant woks with roof-mounted PV panels to meet energy demand. Green and brown roofs planted with native species increase the site’s biodiversity and help address drainage requirements, while bat and bird boxes have been incorporated across the scheme.

The flats are designed to the Lifetime Homes Standard and exceed the London Plan Space Standards. Each floor plan was developed in response to key views, with terraces and balconies inserted into the frame, Residents have access to secure cycle storage and communal storage space within the basement. Waste chutes encourage separation of general and recyclable waste to aid zero-waste living. 

(c) david christian belvedere gardens 01

(c) david christian belvedere gardens 01

Architect’s view

We’ve worked hard to ensure quality at all scales, with floor plans responding to specific key views and responding to the broader context. Façades are composed of a regular grid of reconstituted stone. The grid is infilled with a combination of glazing and metal panels with the panels embellished with the variations of the Festival Star motif to reinforce the narrative of the site’s history.

Deconstructing Abram Games’ Festival Star we found a method by which to revive memories of the 1951 Festival Britain which, though nationwide, was centred on South Bank. We developed the motif through a series of 2D and 3D tests and derived options that worked well in terms of variance, scale and legibility. Beyond the aesthetics, we also made use of the motif as a way of discreetly concealing MHVR façade ventilation systems. In addition, by cleverly positioning the openable windows behind perforated screens, areas of fixed glazing with narrower frame profiles, therefore, provide residences with the maximum natural light and views.

Laurence Osborn, director, GRID architects

(c)tcrocker bgdns 05

(c)tcrocker bgdns 05

Client’s view

It has always been an important aspect of the development to respect the history of the site and celebrate it. The decorative panels are incredibly detailed, featuring alternative perforated holes and embossed dimples, so that the façade appears to transform with movement of the sun throughout the day. As well as being led by design, GRID has also ensured that residents will have access to a variety of amenity spaces – including a private residents’ lounge, leading to an opulent outdoor terrace, providing an intimate space for social gatherings and business meetings, as well as space for residents to entertain and relax.

Canary Wharf Group 

Belveder gardens plans 2

Belveder gardens plans 2

Project data

Start on site June 2016
Completion December 2019
Gross internal area 15,625m² GIA
Form of contract or procurement route Bespoke Construction Management
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect GRID architects
Masterplan architect Squire & Partners
Client Canary Wharf Group
Structural engineer WSP
M&E Hoare Lea
Quantity surveyor pre-tender EC Harris
Lighting design Hoare Lea
Planning consultant QUOD
Landscape consultant Townshend
Project manager Canary Wharf Contractors
CDM co-ordinator AECOM
Main contractor Canary Wharf Contractors 
CAD software used MicroStation 

Environmental performance / sustainability data

On-site energy generation 9796 Wh/yr
Annual mains water consumption 38,325 m3/occupant
Heating and hot water load 44.53 kwh/m2/yr
Overall area-weighted u-value 1.00 w/m


Readers' comments (2)

  • OK in itself, but I wonder how the wider agglomeration of buildings here will rank compared with the 'specific key views' mentioned by the clever (such modesty) architect?

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  • The expensively remade York Road exit of Waterloo Tube station that was done to align with the scheme above ground opened months late and even then promptly closed for more months when bits of the building above started to fall/become dangerous. It was supposed to be sorted in jan/Feb but no idea if it was. Not great as an advert for the scheme or the conractors.

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