The development of two 13- and 17-storey office buildings has over half of its site dedicated to public realm, including gardens and elevated walkways
Make Architects has completed a new commercial development, London Wall Place, for Brookfield Properties and Oxford Properties, which incorporates the largest set of public gardens in the City of London since the Barbican estate.
The scheme is surrounded by a series of pocket parks and elevated walkways that link to those of the neighbouring Barbican. It also incorporates the section of original Roman city wall and the medieval St Alphage Church tower.
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The two buildings, both rated BREEAM Excellent, consist of the 13-storey 1 London Wall Place: 29,000m² of office and trading facilities and 2 London Wall Place, a 17-storey tower with retail and restaurant units at its lower levels. Both buildings have façades of vertical rectilinear bands of glass-reinforced concrete, and dark blue ceramic ribs that form a vertically elongated grid.
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The public realm consists of more than 1.5 acres of public space and over 780m² of green walls across multiple terraced levels. Planting includes strawberries, lavender and ivy, and is distributed to suit various microclimates across the site. The walkways cover 350m and utilise a material palette of weathering steel and Iroko timber. They are a reworking of the previous 1960s ‘Highwalk’ system on the site – and were a requirement of the planning consent – but are here reimagined to form part of the landscaping, incorporating a series of elongated raised gardens.
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The unusual thing about this scheme was the fantastic opportunity to bed these two office buildings in an extensive piece of new public realm in the city. As part of this we incorporated the history of the site – the two heritage structures at its heart – as well as re-establishing the elevated walkway system. Rather than seeing the latter as an isolated entity we addressed it as part of the whole landscape strategy, on what is an incredibly layered site. With the Roman Wall sitting two metres below street level and the walkways approximately five metres above it, we conceived of the whole landscape as a single entity to be enjoyed, passed through or rested in by the public.
While the two buildings were of course the commercial driver for the project, there was also the intent to create an enduring public place at its heart. We worked very hard with the volume of soft vegetation to provide not just calmer areas but cleaner ones too – with the planting including 780m² of green wall and 27 new trees. And working with a researcher from the University of Lancaster, we have been looking at it from the perspective of how public space actually tackles pollution in the air and cleans it, embodying the principles of Khan’s London National Park City.
Sam Potter, lead architect, Make
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The scheme’s ability to connect modern business with historic London and offer new perspectives from the revitalised high-level walkways sets it apart from any other development in London. At London Wall Place, we have developed world-class office space in an exceptional and unique environment for the benefit of all the buildings occupiers, neighbours and visitors alike.
Tim Wells, development director, Brookfield Properties
London wall place lower ground floor
Start on site August 2014
Completion December 2017 (pedways opened in May 2018)
Gross internal floor area 46,450m2
Gross (internal + external) floor area 75,000m2
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Make Architects
Client Brookfield Properties and Oxford Properties
Structural engineer WSP
Façade engineer WSP
Highways engineer WSP
Security consultant WSP
Acoustic engineering WSP
M&E engineer HPF
Sustainability consultant HPF
Fire Engineering HPF
QS Gardiner and Theobold
Landscape architect SpaceHub
Specialist lighting Studio Fractal
Project manager Gardiner and Theobold
Main contractor Multiplex