These are the first images of Zaha Hadid's fresh designs for the £5m Architecture Foundation headquarters in Southwark, which is submitted for planning approval at the end of the week.
The project has been radically altered, almost beyond recognition, from the scheme that won the international design competition some 18 months ago. To date, the development has not been without its problems. Costs have risen and timescales have been stretched. Allies and Morrison, architect of the adjacent 1,2,3 Bankside, was brought on board by contractor Bovis to work with Zaha. But those behind the project are now in upbeat mood. Developer Jonathan Turk, Land Securities' London boss, believes that the project will now sail through planning in eight to 10 weeks. And after its problems, AF director Rowan Moore claims this version of the project is now considerably improved on the first draft.
Structurally the new gallery space - which is being engineered by Adams Kara Taylor - will be a steel frame rather than concrete. The new form takes its inspiration from the triangular shape of the site. The most radical change will be the addition of a 'mirror-polished steel facade' which is the dominant aspect of the building's main planes - a move that the architect believes will dramatically enliven the passing streetscape.
This design also opens the way for the creation of a 'new pedestrianised axis' running between the third phase of Bankside buildings and the new AF headquarters. It is on this through-route that the entry to Zaha's building will be located. The interior has changed less. It will have offices and a boardroom on the top oor. The ground oor, which will also include a space the height of the building, will house a coffee shop a bookshop and some exhibition capacity. The first mezzanine will be a 70m² gallery space and the second oor 150m² for the same use.