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Blackfriars Circus

By Maccreanor Lavington

Client Barratt London

Awards RIBA London Award 2021

This project was shortlisted for the 2021 Neave Brown Award for Housing

© David Grandorge

The architect responded to the brief to rejuvenate a semi-derelict brownfield site by creating a sustainable new neighbourhood. Comprising several separate blocks with a number of attractive roof gardens and a 28-storey tower, the scheme restores the urban grain, creating new public realm and welcome breathing space. It thus successfully repairs a large portion of the street, revitalising the area around St George’s Circus.

In total, the mixed-use scheme creates 336 new homes, including 56 social rent homes for Southwark Council. It also incorporates two new public spaces within the block and a yard surrounded by units aimed at small enterprises, with a café on the adjacent square.

All the blocks respectfully reference the past. The detailing of the window surrounds is robust, while horizontal bands define the floor levels. Elsewhere, a lot of intricate work has gone into the design of the facades, including interesting metal railings and attractive, subtly multi-coloured brickwork in intriguing patterns using glazed bricks of different shapes and sizes. The tower is ingeniously located just off the circus. Despite its scale and height, it fits well within the overall streetscape.

The double-height ground floors lead to the commercial spaces. Perhaps the most interesting of these is the atrium off the circus which, with its translucent roof, provides colonnaded access to the flats and feels timeless.

Given the size of the project and its many constraints, the overall result is a great achievement. It reactivates the area with many new residential and commercial units, all supported by pockets of new public realm. The visit took place during the lockdown when the streets were still fairly quiet. Once life starts to be normal again, it is anticipated that this new addition to Southwark will become vibrant and lively quarter.

Contract Value £105,000,000

Internal Area 39,467 m²

Contractor Barratt London

Structural Engineers Aecom

Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Barratt London

Project Management Barratt London

Environmental / M&E Engineers Whitecode Associates

Acoustic Engineers RBA Acoustics

Access Consultant David Bonnett Associates

Landscape Architects OuterSpace

Sustainability Consultant Bespoke Builder Services (BBS)

Fire Consultant H+H Fire

© Tim Crocker
© David Grandorge
© Tim Crocker
© Tim Crocker
© Maccreanor Lavington
© Maccreanor Lavington
© Maccreanor Lavington
© Maccreanor Lavington
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