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London lessons: four outstanding schemes in the capital

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Four schemes in the capital stood out for quality in 2014, writes Paul Finch

It’s good to end the year thinking about quality architecture recently seen. Four schemes that cheered me up: first, Roger Zogolovitch’s sectional design proposition (courtesy of Stephen Taylor) for a pair of houses in Stroud Green. They are a reminder that ingenuity is the designer’s true stock-in-trade.

Second, Stuart Piercy’s office building for Derwent London on Turnmill Street, achieved after three applications and an appeal. Excellent hand-made bricks and proper curved glass no doubt helped Saatchi & Saatchi decide they wanted to be headquartered there. Quality counts.

Lynch Architects’ work for Land Securities on Victoria Street has produced two good buildings nearing completion: an office (which is letting at record rents) and a residential block, which is a reminder that this area has always mixed housing and commerce. Most pleasing is the design for a pocket park running parallel to Victoria Street, and contributing a civic design element to a major investment.

In the same spirit, Helical Bar is redeveloping the huge St Bart’s site in the City of London, next to the hospital, to a masterplan by Sheppard Robson. Rather than sending in a demolition squad, the developer is taking a far more European urbanist approach to the site. Using architects including Sheppard Robson, Stuart Piercy and MacCreanor Lavington, the strategy is to make up a new urban quarter comprising 19 separate buildings, plus enhanced public routes and spaces. Some buildings will be demolished, but only as a last resort. Others will be stripped to the frame or reclad. In the same spirit of new urban London, the development will provide both commercial and residential development.

It will be a suitable complement to London’s oldest extant church – St Bartholomew the Great, founded, along with the hospital, in the 12th century.

On which historical note, best wishes to AJ readers for Christmas and the New Year.

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