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Eric Parry takes over from Chipperfield on Seal House office project

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Eric Parry Architects has submitted plans to redevelop Seal House in the City of London – a replacement for an approved, but never built, scheme by David Chipperfield Architects

The £40 million proposal for the site next to Grade II*-listed Fishmongers’ Hall will see the existing riverside building, designed by William Holford & Partners in 1978, demolished to make way for a 19,658m² office and retail block.

Developer Sellar Property Group had previously won the go-ahead, a decade ago, for an 18,000m² scheme drawn up by David Chipperfield Architects.

According to Eric Parry, the new 12-storey design will open up the Thamesside elevation to a ’public restaurant space and outdoor dining’ rather than office space in the prior approval.  

The project, which is targeting a BREEAM ’Excellent’ rating, includes a free-to-access roof terrace and has been designed to sit below the 51.4m height limit required by the landmark viewing corridor from Greenwich Park towards St Paul’s Cathedral. A timescale for the scheme is not yet known.

Architect’s view – taken from the design and access statement

The proposal has been developed to present a singular architectural form both to the Thames and Upper Thames Street. A series of distinctive and simple building forms is historically reminiscent of waterfront buildings along the Thames.

A number of the buildings to the west of the site have a strong horizontal emphasis. By contrast our proposal is ‘portrait’ in nature and mediates between the horizontality to the west and the verticality of the portico of the Fishmongers’ Hall. It can be seen framing London Bridge and the hall along with Adelaide House on the north bank of the Thames.

The proposal’s vertical nature is emphasised by the trabeated framework of beams and columns which form the southern and eastern elevations. These will be structural elements with the vertical piers being a series of load-bearing granite columns which allow the glazed elevation to read in a recessive manner behind the structural screen.

The maritime nature of the setting is emphasised by a series of large steel columns

The use of granite harks back to the lower levels of the Fishmongers’ Hall and Rennie’s London Bridge, portions of which survive at both ends. The northern and western facades will by contrast be more taut and slender, though using the same pallette of materials.

The maritime nature of the setting is emphasised by a series of large steel columns which support the primary office levels and are reminiscent of the structures of waterfront warehouses. These act to form colonnades to the south, east and north, and provide greater spatial generosity to the ground plane.

The building rises up to the ninth floor before setting back to provide terraces to the north and the south. The structural stone piers rise an extra storey along the river to provide a more vertical emphasis to the facade.

Seal house site

Seal house site

Existing Seal House site

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