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Classical replacement mooted for Hyde Park Barracks

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Classicist practice Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects has released a striking image of its proposal to replace Basil Spence’s 1970 tower at Hyde Park Barracks

The ‘super-prime’ site is currently occupied by the Household Cavalry but is likely to be sold by the Ministry of Defence and is expected to fetch around £650 million.

Several developers are preparing bids, including a consortium led by Bruce Rippon, which has employed Quinlan & Francis Terry.

Their design, a huge ‘groundscraper’ of apartments, is in the style of the 19th century Parisian city blocks designed by Georges-Eugène Haussmann.

Previous story (AJ 11.06.12)

Developers asked to find Hyde Park Barracks a new home

Developers are being asked to identify new London sites to rehouse the troops currently based at Hyde Park Barracks

The Basil Spence-designed barracks, home to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (HCMR), was completed in 1970 (See AJ 28.07.70) and features a 33-storey residential tower which was once named among the country’s top ten eyesores.

According to the AJ’s sister publication Construction News, developers are now being asked to improve the regiment’s facilities, which could potentially lead to a move away from its current Knightsbridge home.

The Defence Infrastructure Organisation has commissioned a market testing exercise which could lead to the relocation of the HCMR to a new London base - within 4km of Horse Guards Parade - enabling the release of the vacated site for an alternative use.

However the MoD insisted a decision to relocate the HCMR will only be taken if the proposal provides improved facilities and ensures the Regiment can continue its ceremonial duties.  

DIO project officer Paul Howarth said: ‘DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces as they prepare for their military duties. We are constantly looking for ways of improving facilities for soldiers, but site limitations at Hyde Park Barracks restrict effective modernisation.

‘We are considering options to address this and relocation of the HCMR is one option. It is essential that HCMR still remains in central London to enable participation in ceremonial and public duties.’

Developers will be asked to identify alternative central London sites under a range of military criteria, including that a proposed site must be:

  • large enough to locate all facilities required by HCMR on-site;
  • located within 4 km (some 30 minutes ride) of Horse Guards Parade;
  • large enough to have an on-site indoor area for exercising horses; and
  • located no more than 1 km from an outdoor equestrian exercise area and park-land.

CBRE has been appointed as the property advisor for this stage of the project.

CBRE executive director Peter Burns said the project will generate interest from a wide variety of national and international developers.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I have no problem with architects who design in the classical idiom. If that is what they and their clients want then so be it. But they have an obligation to, and indeed no excuse not to get it right. The principles of classical design are clearly there to follow and apply. Successive generations of architects have interpreted those principles to design to satisfy the requirements of their time. Whether with the classical orders, the Renaissance, Baroque and Georgian the principles that make this architectural "style" so acceptable are, scale, balance, elegance and proportion. I leave your readers to judge how this Knightsbridge proposal meets those principles? Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA

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