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Sheppard Robson’s ‘radical’ City scheme with giant green wall approved

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A Sheppard Robson-designed mixed-use building with the ‘largest living wall in Europe’ has been approved by the City of London

Under the plans, Citicape House, an office building on Holborn Viaduct, will be demolished to make way for a new 11-storey ‘gateway’ building to the newly-established Culture Mile. 

The scheme with its ’eye-catching and radical’ façade on the corner of Snow Hill was unanimously approved by the City of London’s planning committee yesterday morning (28 January).

A report prepared by planners ahead of the meeting read: ’The green-walled façade mirrors the diagonal structural bracing of the building, cantilevering over the subterranean railway tracks.

’It appears as a latticed pattern of horizontal and diagonal lines enclosing angled window openings, providing an architectural honesty and coherence in the approach to the green façade.’

The 0.2ha site will be developed to provide 3,741m² of office space, a 382-bed hotel with restaurant and bar and a publicly accessible rooftop terrace.

Sheppard Robson's designs for Citicape House on Holborn Viaduct

Sheppard Robson’s designs for Citicape House on Holborn Viaduct

The scheme will boast a 3,700m² living or green wall made up of approximately 400,000 plants, which will cover the entire façade of the building, and a public viewing gallery. 

The scheme is backed by developer Dominvs Group, which reportedly bought the site in 2017 with existing permission for a hotel designed by Axis Architects. 

The new living cladding system would provide 7 tonnes of fresh air and extract 9 tonnes of CO2 each year and would be the largest in Europe, according to the developer.

The National Grid Headquarters, just outside of Warwick, is the current record-holder, boasting a 1,000m² vertical garden wrapped around its power distribution centre.

Alastair Moss, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee, said: ’[The City] welcomes radical and pioneering ideas as we look to create cleaner and greener spaces for City residents, workers and visitors.’

A future timetable is not yet known.

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