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Mayor gives the nod to CZWG’s 68-storey Croydon skyscraper

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has rubberstamped plans by CZWG Architects for a long-awaited skyscraper development in Croydon featuring a 68-storey tower

Backed by developer Guildhouse Rosepride and the China Building Technique Group Company (CBTGC), the One Lansdowne Road development has been on the drawing board – in various iterations – for almost a decade (see AJ 02.10.08).

When first unveiled in 2008, the Odalisk, as it was then known, included two ‘linked’ towers of 35 storeys and 51 storeys.

However the scheme was reworked and, in 2012, CZWG won planning for a taller 55-storey scheme, despite calls from Design Council CABE that its Matisse-inspired facade should be simplified.

Although initial work began on the project, construction of this scheme was halted by the developer shortly after initial groundworks had begun. 

A revised design involving a 57-storey tower emerged in 2014, but this also ndid not progress.

Last year an even higher proposal featuring a 69-storey main block and including 917 flats and 22,305m² of office space was refused permission by Croydon Council.

However the development team returned with a part -11, part-41 and part-68-storey building, providing 794 homes and 35,000m² of office space, which was unanimously approved in September this year (see AJ 25.09.17).

Khan’s sign -off for the latest plans allows the Section 106 agreement to be signed, the formal consent to be issued and work to begin on site next year.

David Hudson, chief executive of Guildhouse, said: ’Peaking at 288m high, One Lansdowne will be visible from Piccadilly to Brighton, and will be a world-class building which really puts Croydon on the map.’

Czwg 2012 2015

Czwg 2012 2015

Architect’s view

The site is at the centre of Central Croydon, equidistant from East and West Croydon Stations. Wellesley Road is the principal north-south highway through the centre.

Lansdowne Road is the connection from the new bridge over East Croydon Station to the eat-west cross-street of the proposed Westfield Whitgift Centre. The surroundings are predominantly freestanding post-war commercial buildings, some now recently converted to residential.

The proposed building is a spectacularly tall landmark denoting the centre of Croydon from a distance and its important location in the townscape closer to. Two residential towers to east and west of varying heights are united on an office podium. The 41-storey west tower relates in height to those already built at Saffron Square and proposed as part of the Westfield Development on Wellesley Road. The higher 68-storey tower emphasises the importance of Lansdowne Road as an east-west link across Croydon, identified in the Alsop masterplan.

The building is well set back on both streets to allow widened pavements and external seating areas. Two new public pedestrian walks lead into the hinterland to commence a network of alternative walking/cycling links through Croydon’s large urban blocks. They meet at a new pocket piazza intended as the south-west quarter of a larger open space provided by other neighbouring developments.

Balconies, winter gardens and brise soleil are the components that animate the external appearance of the building. They are set in relief onto the otherwise regular rectangular curtain-walled elevations of both residential and office spaces. On the south façade, onto Lansdowne Road, they are corralled by curved bronze ribbons into swooping intersecting forms uniting both towers with the podium into one composition figure. One ribbon visually supports a dramatic cantilever of the west tower at the seventh floor. The original inspiration came from Matisse cut-outs and abstract relief sculptures.

The east and west elevations have rectangular form components that suggest an edge-on relationship to the building. The north aspect of the building has an L-shaped podium. The west tower, visible down Wellesley Road, is adorned with similar curved forms to the south façade. The higher building sits on the podium. Its curved ribbons define a reverse indent up the height of the tower. The relief elements project above the parapets of the rectilinear form of the towers to create a dramatic silhouette, invoking the heyday of the celebratory skyscraper.

Project data 

Project One Lansdowne Road
Location 1-5 Lansdowne Road and 30 Wellesley Road, Croydon
Client Guildhouse Rosepride
Project managers Tropus and Spicer
Development manager Guildhouse
Development agency Stiles Harold Williams
Planning consultant Martin Robeson Planning Practice
Architect CZWG Architects
Local authority London Borough of Croydon
Planning permission 21 September 2017 

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