Friday, 26 March 2010

No. 1 Kingsway, London

Crown House or No.1 Kingsway has for various reasons been ‘around’ for quite a few years as a project at Sidell Gibson. It started life as a town planning exercise when we produced a scheme for the previous site owners, Aberdeen Property Investors, for a larger scheme including the present corner site, No.1 Kingsway plus nos. 5 – 9 & no.11 Kingsway obtaining planning consent in March 2004. The scheme proposals, which retained the principal elevations to Kingsway & the Aldwych, included a large central atrium space with ground level retail use & 8 to 9 stories of commercial office space above with the heights determined by the retained facades. Subsequently, the site was sold on to the present owners, UK & European Properties Ltd who commissioned Sidell Gibson to obtain a revised consent for a smaller scheme for the corner site known as Crown House, No.1 Kingsway. They also purchased the adjoining building, no’s 5 – 9 Kingsway which were refurbished
for house tenants from Crown House so that vacant possession could be obtained for the redevelopment of the main corner site.
Crown House, is part of a group of buildings that form part of the only ‘Boulevard’ in London centered on the ‘Bush House’ the BBC's overseas broadcasting centre and were built in the 1920’s with a series of grand buildings along the Aldwych & up Kingsway with names, detailing & statues featuring Imperial symbols. For these historic reasons Westminster Planning department welcomed retaining the principle façades & reconstructing the rear facades as facsimiles of the originals with an addition of more office floor space & 2 additional floors for 7 high quality residential units with the original rotunda tower above the Kingsway corner made into a large 300 sq m duplex with spectacular views of the London skyline.

Planning consent was granted in summer 2007 & the Architectural team had developed the detail design sufficient for the Design & Build contractor, ISG, to start work with the demolition of the internal structure in January 2008 at which point Sidell Gibson & the structural Engineer’s, Thornton Tomasetti Postawa deHoog were contractually novated to ISG to complete the detail design. The rumbles of the economic crisis in the city & the ‘credit crunch’ then hit the project & led the client to extend the whole project by 1 year & re-tender significant parts of the work , the M&E services, to achieve ‘best value’ & delay the entry of the building onto the commercial market to hopefully, a more favorable time. It is now due for completion in June 2010.

The current progress on site has the piling & main post-tensioned concrete superstructure complete to
roof level & the commencement of the new brick & stone rear façades. Next to start is the steelwork for the 2 storey residential element on the top floors followed by the roofing and slate work mansards so that by the summer the building will be partially water-tight.
Parallel to this exercise, a separate Sidell Gibson team are working hard to complete the fit-out interior design for the roof top apartments which will have not only the views but also their own private landscaped courtyard with a small woodland setting, well 9 ‘pleached’ 5 meter high Holm Oaks.

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