Piercy & Company has submitted a new set of proposals for the overhaul of an office block next to Elephant and Castle roundabout, replacing an earlier skyscraper scheme designed by SOM
In 2016, Southwark’s planning committee approved SOM’s plans to demolish Skipton House – a squat 1992 office building designed by Aukett – and build stepped towers of up to 39 storeys.
But the developer, London and Regional (L&R), was forced into a rethink after failing to buy two buildings to the north of the site required for the project: South Bank University’s main library and a homeless hostel.
Now L&R has unveiled a new scheme, designed by Piercy & Co, which instead of demolishing the building seeks to reconfigure, extend and reclad the existing block.
Under the new proposals, Skipton House’s existing six-storey steelwork structure will double in height with a six-storey extension to create 41,750m² of offices, a 780m² gym and 993m² of flexible shopping space.
The large floorplates have been flexibly designed to accommodate both large and small businesses, and the plans also include a triple-height winter-garden on the seventh floor.
According to the architect, the scheme will create enhanced public space to the south of the building as well as a public plaza on the ground floor of a central atrium.
Documents sent to Southwark planning authorities state that the reuse approach has many sustainability benefits in comparison to demolition and new-build, and that a ‘substantial amount of embodied carbon’ will be saved by retaining existing structure.
Skipton House is currently home to the Department of Health and features dark brown marble cladding and a large glass-topped central atrium.
It sits just south of Allies and Morrison’s 41-storey Two Fifty One tower by the Bakerloo line entrance to Elephant and Castle tube station.
The area is undergoing radical change through major developments such as Allies and Morrison’s controversial redevelopment of the shopping centre for Delancey, approved in July 2018.
This week a coalition of local groups opposing the shopping centre demolition – which would also feature new premises for the London College of Communication – launched a crowdfunding campaign to apply for a judicial review of the decision.
Other nearby schemes include the recently completed Blackfriars Development, designed by Maccreanor Lavington for Barratt Homes and SPAARC’s 25-storey The Kite tower, currently under construction on Newington Causeway.
Director Stuart Piercy and associate director David Cawston said: ’Retaining the existing steel structure and basement of Skipton House and adding 6 further floorplates will create 450,000ft2 of high-quality space in this key location.
’Our strategy of re-use and extension will save a significant amount of embodied carbon and the building will be rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’ and Fitwel certified.’
SUBMITTED: Piercy & Co’s proposals for Skipton House in Elephant and Castle