The Earls Court Development Company has appointed Studio Egret West and Hawkins\Brown as principal masterplan architects for the largest Zone 1 development opportunity – the Earls Court masterplan. The project will deliver London homes and commercial accommodation alongside green and cultural spaces and aim at ‘a new global standard for sustainable and vibrant mixed use development.
The appointment, which followed a six-month international competition, will seek to deliver a masterplan that sets ‘a new global standard for a sustainable and vibrant mixed-use development’, the project backers said. ‘The ambition is greater than the provision of buildings alone: it is to create an environment that is reintegrated with its surroundings for the first time in 100 years and in doing so embraces the hopes and aspirations for the local community and the area’.
In a joint statement, David West and Roger Hawkins on behalf of Studio Egret West and Hawkins\Brown, said they were honoured to be chosen for the project, and would be drawing on previous collaborations between the firms:
‘We believe that our common values, complementary skills, passion for place making, people-first and landscape led approach will bring forth an inclusive and successful transformation of this globally-recognised part of West London’, they said.
Jamie Ritblat of The Earls Court Development Company, said he was delighted to be working with the practices on such, an iconic and globally recognised part of London’s landscape. ‘We believe we understand how important it is that our masterplan recognises the past and celebrates the future of Earls Court and of London’, he said. ‘As the current custodians of the project, we and the masterplan architects place engagement with the local community and wider stakeholders at the heart of our approach to design and development and alongside Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West we will be consulting every step of the way as the plans develop.”
Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at Transport for London, added that this s is a unique opportunity, ‘and we are all excited at being able to work with local people to create a vibrant, active and sustainable community in London, including the affordable homes and workspace that the capital so desperately needs.’
Studio Egret West and Hawkins\Brown’s involvement represents a new milestone for the site, the majority interest of which was acquired by Delancey on behalf of its client fund and the Dutch pension fund manager, APG, in Dec 2019. Following the handing back of the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates (the estates) to London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the estates will not be included in the masterplan, and there is a clear opportunity for a fresh approach at Earls Court with the site ready for development. The brief provided to architects called for a significantly more mixed-use environment than previous plans, so that more commercial space is simultaneously delivered alongside a revised housing plan, and a design and spatial approach based on collaboration and consultation with key stakeholders and the local community.
In the six months since the acquisition, The Earls Court Development Company has met and listened to the local community, including virtual meetings during the coronavirus lockdown, to harness the energy, ideas and commitment of all, and start forming an informed ‘vision’ for the masterplan. The Earls Court Development Company has also been mobilising a wider project team to support the project across a range of disciplines, and further appointments of industry leading partners will be made shortly.
The Earls Court Development Company is based at Earls Court and is responsible for driving the development forward on behalf of the Earls Court Partnership Limited, the joint venture between Delancey’s investors and Transport for London.
The Earls Court Development Company and project team will now work on developing the masterplan, with initial details emerging in the coming months.
Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, said:
“The Earls Court scheme has huge potential as it’s probably the most exciting site in the UK and can become an important attribute to our economic strategy which aims to make Hammersmith & Fulham a global hotspot in the new world economy of STEM industries and digital media. Delancey’s approach has been right at every turn and we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them and working with Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West.”
Studio Egret West previously collaborated with Hawkins/Brown on the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Park Hill scheme in Sheffield.