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Pilbrow & Partners submits plans for ‘London’s most sustainable office tower’


Pilbrow & Partners has submitted plans for an office tower opposite London Bridge Station that it claims will be ’the most sustainable’ of its kind in the capital

The practice’s designs for 60 St Thomas Street – to be known as Edge London Bridge – aim for top-level accreditations through both the BREEAM and WELL certification schemes.

According to its Dutch developer, Edge, it would be the first office block in London to achieve both BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and the WELL ’Platinum’ rating. The scheme’s backer said healthy buildings were ever more important in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edge chief operating officer Boudewijn Ruitenburg said: ‘These trying times make the importance of healthier and more sustainable buildings even more clear. We will continue to address this in working with all our stakeholders and partners.

‘We aim to make Edge London Bridge the most sustainable office tower in London, offering high-quality office space with the highest wellbeing standards. We aim to make a significant and sustainable impact on further development in London, without losing sight of the history and heritage that is part of London’s appeal.’

Plans submitted to Southwark Council include doubling the size of a landscaped public park on the site and connecting it to a green and publicly accessible ground floor in the new building.

The building façade references local architecture through glazed terracotta and steel bracing, while contributing to sustainability with a balance of internal daylight and shading as well as supporting solar panels.

Edge operates across Europe and has several schemes in Holland and Germany. In 2015, PLP Architecture completed a 40,000m² office building for Edge at Zuidas in Amsterdam’s business centre.  

The global WELL accreditation system looks at how a range of built environment factors impact on mental and physical wellbeing, rating a building on the merits of its quality of air, light, movement, sound and more. In 2018, The Crown Estate’s head office at Make’s 1 St James’s Market became the first workplace in Europe to be accorded WELL’s Platinum status.

Pilbrow & Partners’ plans for 60 St Thomas Street include underfloor fresh air supply, chilled ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The building would make use of cutting-edge technology, with light fittings incorporating eight sensors measuring air quality, temperature, humidity and occupancy. 

The ground-floor green podium would offer an entrance area to meet and connect, while upper floors would offer views of the city.

Facilities include a gym, cycle parking and a public coffee bar. A wooden staircase dominates the proposed triple-height entrance area.

Pilbrow & Partners partner Fred Pilbrow said the scheme would be ‘the first of a new generation of London tall buildings that combine the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing’.

He added: ‘The base of building, where a new park is drawn into the publicly accessible interior, marks an equally significant departure from the standard London office model.’

The scheme would have 27 storeys and a net internal area of 23,500m².

Subject to planning, work could start on site next year and complete in 2024.

Judging sustainability claims

The developer behind Edge London Bridge claims it will be the most sustainable office tower in the city, basing its boast on a target of attaining top-level accreditation through both the BREEAM and WELL certification programmes. So is this a valid way of ranking buildings’ sustainability credentials?

Clara Bagenal George, associate at respected green engineering firm Elementa Consulting and one of the Mayor of London’s design advocates for good growth, says that although these accreditation programmes should be respected, they are not the final word on sustainability. 

She says other aspects of sustainability that should be included in any appraisal include meeting energy budgets and energy use intensity targets; circular economy achievements; embodied carbon; social value; and regenerative design.

’Fundamentally the sustainability of a building depends not only on how the buildings is constructed, but also how it performs in use. Before stating that a building is the most sustainable, you would need to see the post-construction embodied carbon calculations, the energy performance in use as well as other key indicators.’

Project data

Location London
Type of project New-build office tower
Client Edge
Local development partner Simten Developments
Architect Pilbrow & Partners
Access consultant David Bonnett Associates
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Air quality AQC
Archaeology MOLA
Building and services engineer Atelier Ten
Cost consultant Gardiner & Theobald
Daylight and sunlight Point 2 Surveyors
Ecologist Watermans
Energy and sustainability Atelier Ten
Environmental consultant Trium
Façade consultant AKT II
Fire engineer Atelier Ten
Landscape architect Churchman Thornhill Finch
Planning consultant DP9
Principal designer Gardiner & Theobald
Project manager Gardiner & Theobald
Security consultant QCIC
Structural engineer AKT II
Transport consultant Caneparo Associates
Urban design and public realm consultant Publica
Vertical transportation Sweco
Wind consultant RWDI
Start on site 2021
Completion 2024

Pilbrow & Partners' plans for EDGE London Bridge

Pilbrow & Partners’ plans for EDGE London Bridge

Pilbrow & Partners’ plans for EDGE London Bridge


Readers' comments (5)

  • As good as it is, the most sustainable office tower is the one that doesn't get built because people work from home.

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  • Good to see sustainability being trumpeted, though that's just to do with the building itself.
    It's quite a jump from the seven storeys of the Home Office's immigration and naturalisation 'facility' (Becket House) on this site to a twenty seven storey tower - doubtless reflecting property market forces around London Bridge station (still?) and part of the ongoing 'canyonisation' of this street, with KPF's nineteen storey block on Vinegar Yard the next in line.
    I wonder if - in a more cautious planning climate - the overhaul of the existing tired office block might have been even more 'sustainable'?

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  • Clara's comments are relevant. It would be good to know how this building measures up against the 2030 zero carbon targets. Any chance of some data?

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  • Rab’s comments above are absolutely on point. Let’s see the figures & AJ editors time for you to schedule a post occupancy visit report on the project

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  • Surely the investors will pull the plug on this project. The day of the office block is over.

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