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RSHP picked to design scheme to replace firm’s own HQ

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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has been chosen to draw up a major residential-led scheme to replace its own landmark Thames Wharf studios HQ in Hammersmith.

The appointment, by developer London & Regional Properties (LRP), marks the beginning of the end of Richard Rogers’s three-decade long relationship with the prestigious riverside site and bolsters the case for the practice to find a new home (AJ 31.10.13).

As well as RSHP’s award-winning, barrel-roofed office - designed by Rogers and Lifschutz Davidson in the mid-1980s - the former industrial complex also includes 20th century warehouses and the Michelin-starred River Café,owned and run by Rogers’ wife Ruth.

In a statement to the AJ, LRP director Geoff Springer said: ‘London & Regional Properties has recently completed the acquisition of the majority stake of the Thames Wharf studios site and buildings in Hammersmith, home to….RSHP, the River Café and well as workspace studios and offices. 

‘We will now work together with RSHP to consider various options for this group of buildings, all of which will of course retain the wonderful River Café, prior to then consulting with the local community over the coming months.’

The entire complex was bought by former Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP) co-founder Marco Goldschmied in acrimonious circumstances in 2007 as part of a settlement with his former partners.

But late last year,the  formerRIBA president sold a 75 per cent stake in the site to LRP for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the deal, which only reached financial close this week,  Goldscmeid has retained a 25 per cent ‘interest’ in the resultant joint venture company that owns the site through two Guernsey-based firms; NOCO2C0 and Knightsbridge Holdings.

Sources close to the deal said the new scheme would be housing-led but there are no further details and it is not clear how much of the existing site will be bulldozed.

Since Goldschmied took possession of the complex in 2007 RSHP has been threatened with the prospect of an enforced move when the lease runs out in October 2016.

According to a source close to RSHP, while Rogers himself would still rather stay at Thames Wharf, there is relief at the 150-strong practice that a decision has now been made and that RSHP will have a say in what is left behind: ‘There is a ‘jolly inevitability’ about the move,’ said the source.

Goldschmied could have kicked them out, but he realised it would be good for him and the business to appoint RSHP.

‘It is a very clever commercial move, it means the developer can also have direct conversations with the [River] café,’ the source added.

Goldschmied told the AJ: ‘I’m very happy that world-class architects are designing this scheme – Rogers Stirk Harbour. The firm that I founded has been chosen – I can’t think of anybody better.’

Previous story (AJ 31.10.13)

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners set to move out of Hammersmith home

Marco Goldschmied looking to redevelop Thames-side site

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) is to move out of its famous Thames Wharf premises in Hammersmith for a new base in central London.

The practice is due to leave its offices, an award-winning overhaul of a former industrial complex designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP), once the lease runs out in early 2016. It will end a 30-year association with the riverside plot.

It is understood former RRP co-founder and past RIBA president Marco Goldschmied, whose family company, Thames Wharf Studios, manages the site, wants to redevelop the complex once RSH+P has departed. Both Ken Shuttleworth’s Make and Asia-based Spark – of which Goldschmied is a director – have previously looked at plans to rework the site, although the practices denied having any recent involvement.

Goldschmied, who was unavailable to comment, fell out with Rogers almost a decade ago, eventually buying the freehold of the Thames-side plot in 2007 following an out-of-court settlement with his former RRP partners.

It is unclear where RSH+P will end up and the practice declined to comment on the rumours. However, any new office will need to be capable of accommodating about 150 staff. The future of Rogers’ wife Ruth’s River Café, also on the Thames Wharf site, is also unknown.

Last week it emerged Rogers had been named on the five-strong shortlist in the contest to overhaul of Houses of Parliament.

The practice is also understood to be working on a 70-storey skyscraper in Bogota.

Meanwhile it has emerged Zaha Hadid is looking to move her London office into the Design Museum in 2015, once the institution has relocated to the conversion of the Grade II*-listed Commonwealth Institute building in west London.

The AJ believes the practice has been unable to bag planning permission to extend its Bowling Green Lane offices and sees the Shad Thames building as a potentially larger new home.

Hadid bought the long-term lease of the former banana warehouse in July this year (AJ 09.07.13) in a deal understood to be worth more than £10 million.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I wonder if this'll be an example of an attractive riverside site, with a variety of contrasting buildings and uses, being 'dumbed down' by the pressure to maximise the return on providing more very, very high value residential space?
    No reason why an architect shouldn't benefit from their investment, but will it be at the expense of the 'place'?.

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