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AHMM scheme would transform ‘inward-looking’ 1-2 Broadgate, says City

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AHMM’s proposal to replace the iconic 1-2 Broadgate with a multi-coloured mixed-use block is set to be approved after City of London planners said it would transform the ‘inward-looking’ 1980s office complex 

The 74,000m² British Land scheme is to go before the local authority’s planning committee next Tuesday (29 January) but has been recommended for approval by the City’s chief planning officer.

The Arup Associates-designed 1-2 Broadgate has been hailed by groups including The Twentieth Century Society as the last unaltered part of the ’internationally acclaimed’ City of London campus.

However, a report prepared ahead of next week’s decision has described the existing office block as a ’large, inward-looking building’ with no pedestrian permeability and ‘very few retail units to enliven the public realm’. 

In comparison, AHMM’s proposals for the 0.7ha site by Liverpool Street Station had, the report said, a ‘strong sense of architectural integrity’ and would ’enhance the street scene’. 

It added that the design for a series of variously coloured stacked boxes with terraces on every floor above level five was as an ’eye-catching, vibrant and convincing architectural statement’. 

The Twentieth Century Society is opposed to the development, which it has described as ’unsympathetic’ to the character of the remaining buildings. 

But the society’s hopes of statutory protection were dashed when the culture sectary decided to grant landowner British Land’s application for a Certificate of Immunity (COI) for the existing building, paving the way for its demolition.

British Land and joint venture partner Government of Singapore Investment Corporation applied for the latest COI after its previous certificate, obtained in 2013, ran out earlier this year.

Although Historic England had attempted to get the entire estate Grade II*-listed in 2011, it did not put up a fight for 1-2 Broadgate this time, saying the building’s quality had been diminished by a series of demolitions and alterations of important parts of the original scheme.

The planning officer’s report also commented on how the Broadgate Estate is being ’incrementally being re-designed’, resulting in a series of architecturally complementary individual buildings, rather than a campus approach.

’This is welcomed and results in a richer, more diverse architectural grain more integrated into its wider setting but respectful of the original masterplan layout for Broadgate,’ it said.

AHMM director Paul Monaghan has described the mammoth block as ‘an adventure in colour’ and potentially the most colourful scheme since its 2007 Westminster Academy, which was shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize a year later.

Subject to approval, work on AHMM’s 1-2 Broadgate plans could be completed by 2024.

Project data

Client British Land/GIC JV
Architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Project manager Gardiner & Theobald
Structural engineer AKT II
Cost consultant Core 5
MEP/lift engineer Hilson Moran
Planning consultant DP9
Fire engineer JGA
Landscape architect BBUK
Transport consultant Arup
Daylighting consultant Point 2 Surveyors
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Environmental consultant Trium
Access consultant David Bonnett Associates
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Townscape consultant Tavernor Consultancy
Security consultant QCIC
Community consultant BECG
Broadgate framework contractor Sir Robert McAlpine

Aerial of broadgate

Aerial of broadgate

  • 4 Comments

Readers' comments (4)

  • 'Adventure in color' maybe, but not only is more retail space being introduced, the vertical red cladding calls to mind the sort of stuff adorning those cheap sheds in edge of town retail parks.

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  • Wake up Robert and the 20th Century Society and have some faith in the architects of the 21st Century.

    The scheme built by Pater Foggo and Arup Associates was a breath of fresh air in the late 70s, designed round the circus and using fast track construction. But things and the City have moved on. AHMM were once the new kids on the BDP block, but are now major and talented players. All over London they are re designing tired areas, with new clients and new money. These new elevations look a long way from retail parks, and are presumably better insulated and longer lasting for our new tech age of global warming and flexibility; as well as keeping the fund managers happy?!

    Give this “new” generation a chance before they too retire, and the next generation have to show their metal?

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  • Thought I was awake.

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  • What a dog's breakfast this place is becoming.

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