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Gensler and Snøhetta reveal Portland House extension after Chipperfield axed


Gensler and Snøhetta Architects have revealed designs for a major extension of a 29-storey Brutalist landmark in London’s Victoria, to replace an axed proposal by David Chipperfield Architects 

The latest proposals for Portland House feature a 15-storey extension attached to the side of the building and will add a ‘crown’ and a rooftop pavilion on to the main block.

The designs, which have been recommended for approval by Westminster planners, also includes renovating the existing façade and replacing the windows. 

The new scheme replaces a design by David Chipperfield Architects, approved in 2013, for a total redesign of Portland House which would have seen its Brutalist façade replaced with a more modern approach.

The 2013 scheme was for 200 new homes, but developer Landsec has now come forward with an office-led scheme that instead seeks to retain the existing building, including the precast façade.

Gensler’s 15-storey extension on Bressenden Place has been designed as a concave block that would hug the side of Portland House. The applicant described it as ‘an extended open drawer projecting from the building’.

The proposed crown will be used as a bar and restaurant and is comprised of vertical fins on the existing structural grid which have been designed to ‘integrate into the Brutalist design of the existing building’.

The general public will be able to access the new rooftop level, which has been inspired by the Met Life (Pan Am) building in New York, via a new external lift on the northern façade. 

In a report by Westminster planners, they said Portland House had become ’increasingly dated and tired in appearance’ in recent years.

It added: ‘The extension is striking without being overbearing and doesn’t compete or conflict with the building’s distinct architectural form and appearance.’

Portland House was constructed in the 1960s and was designed by Howard, Fairbairn & Partners for the City and Victoria Property Company. It originally comprised the centrepiece of a masterplan for the former Stag Brewery.

In 2002, plans by EPR architects to redevelop the Stag Place site into a mixed-use development Cardinal Place were given the go-ahead. Portland House and Roebuck House are the last remaining buildings from the original masterplan.

Westminster’s planning committee will decide on the plans next Tuesday (24 September).

19107 201 restaurant k wip03

19107 201 restaurant k wip03


Readers' comments (4)

  • You having a laugh London?

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  • "The extension is striking without being overbearing and doesn’t compete or conflict with the building’s distinct architectural form and appearance."

    Since that is clearly factually untrue, one wonders at the value of planners' advice.

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  • Industry Professional

    I think the idea is to stick the extension on the front and I mean "stuck". To my eyes the two do not "gel together" at all but then I am not an architect.
    My Dad worked in this building in the 1960s and early 1970s before I worked nearby in the late 1980s and 1990s in Palace Street. I cannot help thinking that this extension will simply make the wind tunnel effects one gets round this part of Victoria even worse.

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  • It looks like less of a stand alone tower now and more like a part of a street with two buildings on a shared building line. The reflection of the tower's angles in the convex facade of the extension is quite interesting. Will set an interesting precedent.

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