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Glas scoops planning for Blackfriars viaduct café

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[First look + plans] Glas Architects has won planning permission for a second scheme under Blackfriars Road rail viaduct, opposite London’s Southwark Underground station

The café, kiosk and take-away pavilion is the sister project to a similar café pavilion on the east side of the road which was approved in 2009.

The London-based practice has proposed an exposed-beam, timber laminate structure wrapped in Canadian Douglas Fir plywood panels.


The architect’s view

Owning to the position and nature of the site, the proposed scheme seeks to develop a series of contemporary pavilion type structures comprising of, a café, a kiosk and a take-away canopy to complement the approved café pavilion on the opposite side of the site. The structure will be considered as an attractive landmark from its design, further adding to the redevelopment within the area.

The Café pavilion and Kioskdesign is a glass pavilion fashioned on the approved design comprising of a servicing zone and a causal seating zone on the street level and on the mezzanine level which is distinctive by the visible floating canopy which makes up the ceiling, roof and seated areas collectively. Introduced on the façadeglazing is an etched pattern of a piston engine valve focused towards the main entrance, reflecting the historic significance of the railway and Victorian steam engines. The proposal for the café and kiosk is therefore essentially a glazed pavilion enclosing a timber framed structure with a floating canopy as a roof on one side and a mezzanine level seating area on the other. Fundamentally the design addresses Southwark Councils policies on quality design in the wider framework of redevelopment within the Borough.

The glass pavilion addresses the site sensitively through its approach of simplifying and minimising the structural fixings against the Victorian viaduct end wall. Internally, a sense of site and location is achieved by the unaffected end wall and enhanced by the changes in height levels and transparency through the glazed frontage to the seating zones.

The Take-away canopy subsequently responds to the café and kiosk pavilions with its grand entrance volume providing a cohesive scheme viewed from the street level. The canopy structure is similar to café and kiosk structure but clad in translucent polycarbonate sheets. To create a degree of privacy due to the site location, the side elevations are cladding in plywood timber on the lower level and continued with polycarbonate sheets on the higher level to maximise natural light into the canopy.

Introduced on the entrance façade as well is the etched pattern of a piston engine valve. The take-away site comprises not only the large canopy shelter which houses limited seating for customers and a servicing zone but also two shelters housing a kitchen located behind the canopy and a toilet for staff to the take-away. The proposal addresses the long narrow nature of the site by providing a simplified structure within the parameters of the site and ensuring all relevant servicing is housed within the boundaries of the site.


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