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Chelsfield drafts in Richard Rogers for Paddington plan

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Chelsfield's Elliott Bernerd has brought in Richard Rogers to work on a major office development as part of the developer's £100 million Paddington Basin proposals masterplanned by Terry Farrell and Partners.

Rogers - whose glass-wave scheme for the South Bank was ditched by Bernerd in favour of controversial demolitions and piecemeal additions by other, as yet unnamed, architects - is to work up designs for buildings 'B and C' in the commercially led version of two masterplans for which Farrell won planning consent last November. This is now the developer's favoured option, ahead of a residentially led development featuring proposals from architects Paskin Kiriakides Sands and Jestico + Whiles which will now not be used.

Detailed images of Rogers' scheme are unavailable, but the architect is working on reinstating an 'L'-shaped footprint, with triangular-plan roofs, after a bowed edge was rejected by Westminster as constricting public space. The practice may also link the buildings with an atrium and is to submit a detailed planning application 'certainly in the first quarter of this year', according to Chelsfield director Nick Roberts. Because the building will be almost south-facing it will need screening, for which the architect is looking at materials such as timber, to echo those used in the the tower element of the scheme.

The regeneration scheme also includes residential/mixed use proposals for 150 units at Hermitage Street by Munkenbeck and Marshall and the 16- storey tower, either by Jestico + Whiles or Farrell. Meanwhile, Farrell's project architect on the proposals, Mike Stowell, has developed the practice's ideas for the key building 'A' on the site and hopes to apply for detailed planning permission within a fortnight or so. The 32,500m2 office building, which the developer envisages becoming an international headquarters building for a firm - negotiations are being held - has been refined to feature a 'shoulder' with set-back roof features.

The whole 1.6ha site, which Chelsfield is developing in conjunction with Godfrey Bradman's European Land & Property Corporation, is just a small part of the massive development of the Paddington area. The development follows the area's designation by Westminster City Council as a special policy area and concentrates on revitalising the canalside and the station zone.

Paddington Basin Developments, as Bernerd and Bradman's joint venture is called, has already put aside £7 million for infrastructure work. It is planning restaurants, cafes and retail at ground level to make the basin area a 'destination' like Brindleyplace in Birmingham or Broadgate in the City, with public art, good signage and a refurbished canal thanks to British Waterways. Farrell's masterplan also aims for permeability, with links through the buildings, new moorings and links across to St Mary's Hospital. The plan includes two new bridges, one of which, at the eastern end of the site, is being worked on by artist Marcus Taylor and engineer Dewhurst MacFarlane. The 6-7m-span bridge cylinder 'unscrews' to open.

Other key developments in the area include a 16-storey extension to Stakis London Metropole Hotel, to provide the largest conference hotel in Europe; a Rialto/Frogmore scheme for 472 apartments at the east end of the basin; Nicholas Grimshaw's extensive work on Paddington station, including a new mezzanine floor and a glass screen to the train shed; and John Seifert's Bishopsbridge scheme for Grainshurst. Railtrack is also seeking to rebuild the Bishop's Bridge itself, partly due to the popularity of one of the main catalysts of all this development - the Heathrow Express service from Paddington.

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