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Fosters' £270m supermarket sweep at J Sainsbury HQ

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Foster and Partners is to design a new head office for J Sainsbury in London's Blackfriars.

Fosters' partner in-charge of the project, Ken Shuttleworth, said the striking £270 million proposal would be 'carved' to minimize its impact upon surrounding houses.

The current head office site near the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge is a 16-storey slab structure that offers no ground-level public space and blocks light and residents' views. J Sainsbury's staff occupy 13 buildings on the site. Once they are relocated, the site will be demolished.

Fosters' proposal is for a 19-storey, 40,000m 2building including a supermarket and a park for use by local residents.

'By putting everything in the northern end of the site we have managed to improve the benefit of the site, ' Shuttleworth said. He said J Sainsbury had opted to build beneath the height precedent set by the nearby IPC publishing group and break the design into two sectors. 'The base effectively follows the street scale and has a roof garden and the tower element is 'necked in' to get light and a view beneath it, ' Shuttleworth said.

Last year J Sainsbury opened an ambitious environmentally friendly supermarket by architect Chetwood Associates on the Greenwich peninsula. Shuttleworth said the design of the new headquarters was equally ambitious.

Southwark council is not expected to report on Fosters' application for three months. If approved, work will begin early next year with a completion date of 2004.

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