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Listing refused for Foster interchange threatened by Calatrava’s Greenwich plans

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The Twentieth Century Society has failed to get Foster + Partners’ North Greenwich Interchange listed in its attempt to save it from demolition

The 1998 building is set to be flattened to make way for Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava’s £1 billion mixed-used office, housing and interchange proposal for the site on London’s Greenwich Peninsula.

Calatrava’s 130,000m² development – which will be his first project in London – involves replacing the Foster-designed arrival hall with a towering winter garden where visitors will emerge into a 24m-tall, 152m-long galleria of slender columns, forming an avenue supporting a glass canopy.

The society submitted an application for the interchange building and the associated Underground station – designed by Alsop, Lyall and Stormer – to be granted Grade II* listed status.

However the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCLG) said that while the building had an ’elegant and unusual form’ and was an ‘accomplished’ example of Foster + Partners’ work, it was ’reminiscent of the practice’s earlier works notably the Stansted Airport building’ and ’lacked the innovation exhibited by highly graded buildings of this date and architectural idiom’.

Developer Knight Dragon added that the decision to remove the existing station by Foster and Partners ‘was part of Allies and Morrison’s masterplan, approved in 2015 and taken long before Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to design Peninsula Place’.

According to Knight Dragon, the design of the new interchange has been developed ‘in conjunction with TFL to anticipate increased capacity for the overall transport interchange, predicted to rise to 137,000 passengers passing through daily by 2030’.

Greenwich Peninsula

Greenwich Peninsula

Source: Ben Blossom

Model of Calatrava’s scheme for Greenwich Peninsula

The government has also thrown out a listing bid for the ticket hall at MJP Architects’ 1999 Southwark Underground station - one of a series of stations built as part of the Jubilee Line extension.  

The area around the station is set to be redeveloped by Development Securities under a masterplan drawn up by AHMM.

The rejection notice issued by the DCLG said: ’[The] very high level of engineering and architectural interest expected of a building of such recent date, and the acknowledged exceptional integration of art within transport infrastructure, do not extend to the ticket hall.’

Alan Baxter, who carried out a listing assessment for Transport for London, concluded that while ’the station exhibits architecture of good quality and is of some architectural interest [it did not] meet the criteria for a building under 30 years old, since no parts of the station are of outstanding quality and under threat.’

Reacting to the news, Tess Pinto of the Twentieth Century Society said: ’We are deeply disappointed with these two decisions – particularly at Southwark, which we felt was an exceptionally strong case for listing. The emphasis in the report on the nature of the threat and its particular impact is of concern.

’Once a threat is established, a building is assessed for listing on its own terms and as a totality. The way in which the potential threat will impact on various parts of the building should not be a material consideration, as it appears to have been here.’


Neil Deely, partner and co-founder of Metropolitan Workshop and former director at MJP
‘It is obviously disappointing that it hasn’t been listed. As someone once said to me, Canary Wharf is the main altar of the Jubilee Line extension and Southwark is Our Lady’s side chapel. It is a very special station - hard to think of a better one, isn’t it?’ 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Sustainability is so out of fashion in this part of London, isn't it? - if the transport interchange was commissioned by TfL, howcome it's now up for grabs? Or is there more rot in the TfL senior management than even the 'Garden Bridge' saga would suggest?
    I wonder if the DCLG is be aware that there's quite a lot of very repetitive Georgian architecture in England that's listed, so how about delisting all but the plum bits to enable developers to let rip on the rest?
    And Mr Calatrava - capable of truly inspired work such as Stadelhofen station in Zurich - demeans himself by clambering onto the tacky bandwagon rolling around London just now depositing naff works of grotesque 'look at me' highrise banality.

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