Developer Unveils 18 Blackfriars Road Tower Scheme in London

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Foster + Partners, a prominent architecture firm, has proposed the design for a colossal 18 Blackfriars Road Tower Scheme near London’s Blackfriars Bridge on a site that’s been underutilised since 2016. The project is referred to as “18 Blackfriars Road.” It encompasses a 45-storey office tower and residential buildings of 40 and 22 storeys. All are centred around a public plaza on the noteworthy Southwark plot.

The proposed plans supplant prior designs approved in 2017 by WilkinsonEyre and Brisac Gonzalez, which had intended a 53 and a 34-storey hotel-focused tower structure. Foster + Partners secured the project on behalf of the American developer, Hines. This was after outcompeting four other invited architecture firms: Danish firm 3XN, New York’s COOKFOX Architects, Connecticut’s Pickard Chilton, and American architectural titans Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

According to the collaborating team, the office building design has evolved beyond a typical all-glass style, veering away from the standard flat-tower office building architecture. The building will offer around 2,000m² of affordable workspace to assist local and social businesses.

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The number of housing units

The 18 Blackfriars Road Tower Scheme will accommodate approximately 400 housing units, 40% of which will be assigned as affordable homes. This shows an increase from the initial 360 units proposed the prior year. The newly suggested plan is developed in collaboration with Lipton Rogers Developments.

The main building features a unique design with ‘bustles’ at different angles, maximising natural light and views. The exteriors are intended to be terracotta-colored, mirroring the redbrick architectural context of nearby landmarks like the Tate Modern and the OXO Tower.

The 18 Blackfriars Road development plans also incorporate the revitalisation of the Grade II-listed Mad Hatter pub and hotel. This is located across SimpsonHaugh’s 50-storey One Blackfriars tower. Additionally, the plan entails a ground-floor space rich with shops, bars, restaurants, and performance areas.

These will be connected via three integrated spaces – the Rotunda, Hatters Yard, and a playground. The team targets a 20-30% reduction in embodied carbon compared to the GLA benchmark. Furthermore, they plan to implement an all-electric system with ground and air source heating and cooling.