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AHMM wins approval for all-new Elizabeth House plans


Lambeth Council has unanimously approved plans by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) to redevelop Elizabeth House – a 1960s office block next to Waterloo Station – replacing designs by David Chipperfield Architects

Chipperfield’s scheme was given the green light in 2014 but never taken forward. An even earlier scheme by Allies and Morrison was thrown out by the government in 2009.

AHMM’s 111,484m² office project, for developer HB Reavis, includes new public space connecting Waterloo Station with the South Bank and a ‘garden promenade’ accessed from the station concourse. 

It also features Waterloo Curve, a new pedestrian street lined with shops and cafés, which will link Elizabeth House with the transport hub.

The plans aim to provide more space for Waterloo Station, the UK’s busiest station, which will soon to be used for 130 million passenger journeys a year. The existing buildings on the site, including John Poulson’s 1960 Elizabeth House, will be flattened.

The buildings are expected to be a similar height that stipulated in the existing planning permission for the site, ranging between 31 storeys and 13 storeys.

Spot the difference: AHMM’s Elizabeth House scheme - (left) as first revealed in December 2018 and (right) as approved October 2019

Spot the difference: AHMM’s Elizabeth house scheme - (left) as first revealed in December 2018 and (right) as approved in October 2019

Chipperfield’s controversial scheme, approved by Lambeth Council in 2014, included two new buildings, one part 29-storey and part 14-storey, and another of 11 storeys. Five years previously communities secretary John Denham had thrown out £1 billion proposals for the site by Allies and Morrison, known as the Three Sisters scheme.

When HB Reavis bought the site in 2017, it decided to replace proposed residential with offices and held a new design competition for the site. 

AHMM took over the project in December 2017, a move that ended Chipperfield’s seven-year involvement with the site. The practice is working with structural engineer Robert Bird Group on the scheme.

Speaking after the decision, HB Reavis’s development director Kiran Pawar said the scheme would bring with it a ’£100 million package of public benefits … including the provision of affordable workspace and major public realm improvements around Waterloo Station’.

Construction is expected to start on site in 2020.

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The existing Elizabeth House building in Waterloo

The existing Elizabeth House building in Waterloo which will be demolished


Readers' comments (3)

  • A lot less cold and clunky than the Chi[pperfield offering, but still giving the impression of a large mass of building looming over the mere mortals moving ant-like around the base.
    But presumably there's a big killing to be made in flattening the existing relatively inoffensive Elizabeth house (on the point of collapse?) rather than refurbishing it, so money and greed can be seen to be even now winning over reason, commonsense - and maybe civilisation?.

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  • The original Elizabeth House was designed by John Poulson Architects Ltd, who employed a stable of good designers. Their Leeds International Pool was nearly listed recently and their offices above Leeds Railway Station were refurbished successfully recently. The sensible and ecological solution would be to refurbish Elizabeth House and conserve the work of this extraordinary architectural firm, once the largest in Europe, rather than allowing the orgy of greed described above.

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  • The ground and first floors look appalling. That corner is particularly in-elegant. Bring back the Chipperfield scheme

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