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Chipperfield submits final designs for Waterloo development

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David Chipperfield Architects has submitted its final designs for the proposed £600 million redevelopment of Elizabeth House outside Waterloo train station in London

Working with developers Chelsfield and London & Regional Properties, the 132,000m² scheme will replace the 1960s Elizabeth House and features two buildings - the tallest a 29-storey, mixed-use office and residential tower block.

The practice’s initial designs (see AJ 02.07.11) were reworked in response, in part, to comments from English Heritage and DCCABE and as a result of in-depth consultation with local stakeholders.

The project will be Chipperfield’s first major development in London and follows a ‘long record of failed attempts’ to build on the problematic site - the most recent being Allies and Morrison’s doomed Three Sisters tower scheme which was turned down at planning inquiry, despite having been supported by Lambeth Council and the Greater London Authority (2009).

The proposed north building, next to Waterloo’s Victory Arch, will be 123m tall and house 62,000m² of office space on its lower floors together with 142 new homes above. The 10-storey south building, at the opposite end of the site at the corner of York Road and Leake Street, will feature 23,700m² of office space and 1,500m² of small shops and cafés at ground floor level.

At the heart of the plans is a new 10,000m² square - Victory Arch Square - billed as ‘a new seamless, step-free public space in front of the station’

Final desings: David Chipperfield Architects' designs for Elizabeth House - Waterloo and the arch

Final desings: David Chipperfield Architects’ designs for Elizabeth House - Waterloo and the arch


Stuart Lipton of Chelsfield said: ‘Elizabeth House is located in the geographical centre of London and the design by David Chipperfield reflects the opportunity of producing a building that would make a difference for Waterloo.

’The regeneration of the site will be a pivotal moment in a pivotal location for rail users, for the arts world, for the local community and for Londoners – the plans will significantly improve the experience for the tens of millions of people who pass through the site each year.’

David Chipperfield said: ‘Our task is to develop a piece of city that inscribes itself into a very complex site where our responsibility is not only to design a building but above all to transform the public realm surrounding the station.’

Chipperfield’s practice landed the prize job in August 2010 following a design competition. The firm is working with landscape designers West 8.

Project description - the developers’ view

1.   The creation of Victory Arch Square in front of Waterloo Station as part of 10,000 square metres of new public space.  A new seamless, step-free public space, giving the public the space they need to move freely and allowing Victory Arch to stand proud with the space and exposure it deserves.  This new public space will cover over 10,000m², running the length of the site from the Arch to Leake Street, connecting to York Road, permitting free and easy access to the South Bank and east Waterloo.  Victory Arch Square is created in front of the station and ‘Central Square’ between the two buildings.

2.   Significant improvements to Waterloo Station access and local connections.  Replacement of the high level walkway with step free access into the main station concourseaccessed via the new public space.  The development also enables future additional access to Waterloo station via the former International terminal which has already been identified as a major development priority for London.  The open ground level creates vastly improved movement between Waterloo Station and the South Bank, London Eye and St Thomas’s Hospital, facilitating improved connections with Lower Marsh allowing this to become more connected to the South Bank.

3.   An ingenious engineering solution.  The new public space is partly created by in effect lifting the whole North building off the ground via a 12 storey high bridging structure spanning 108 metres, with its supporting structures visible through the building’s glazed façade.  This solution responds to the position of the tube tunnels which limits the location for underground foundations and creates a two story high public realm shaped by its proximity to the station.

4.   A modern new building for Waterloo. The North building is a stacked form – a series of volumes that build up to form a tower at the head of the site, adjacent to Victory Arch.  These volumes are clad with a translucent white glass façade and create a simple, calm architectural surface.  The result is a elegant building form which will take its place in the skyline of London and which reflects the prominence of its location adjacent to the South Bank.  The South Building responds more closely to the scale and materiality of its surroundings – low rise, ground-bearing, with a masonry façade, it establishes a clear relationship with the adjacent buildings of County Hall and the Shell Centre.

5.   Gallery space – a ‘front room’ for Waterloo.  The ground floor of the North building along York Road will include a double-height glass fronted gallery space.  Open to the public with sofas, good coffee, small retail kiosks and wi-fi, this will provide a dramatic space in the heart of Waterloo which will also host exhibitions and artwork to bring some of Waterloo’s cultural heritage to the station.

6.   A new business location for London.  Waterloo is perfectly placed to benefit from the creative clusters in the South Bank and the West End.  With this new development, Waterloo can become the home for major contemporary businesses, such as advertising, media, professional services and technology firms, together with their huge supply networks.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I really don't understand why this is Chipperfield's first major project in London. His style is so befitting of London.

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