London Tall Buildings Survey 2021
Chapter London Bridge is a distinctive 39-storey building, providing accommodation for up to 905 students; flexible, affordable start-up space; and public realm improvements. The project integrates with the urban fabric, reflecting the textures and materiality of nearby warehouses and responding to contextual rooflines.
At its base, the facade is set back behind a colonnade creating wider pavements and an improved public realm. Above the ground floor, the building volume steps back and forwards, providing sheltered areas for small groups to meet and a hierarchy of spaces that direct pedestrians to the main entrances. Activated on all four sides, the ground floor is open, welcoming, and flexible. Floor plans employ lightweight construction around a central core, enabling future reconfiguration.
Student accommodation floors provide a variety of living options, from self-contained studios to clusters of two or three bedrooms with shared facilities and spaces for communal dining and socialising. Studios and bedrooms feature expansive views of the city and space for sleep, study and relaxation. Additional communal spaces for study, socialising and wellness, including a landscaped terrace, are located at the 37th and 38th Floor. Internally, windows are the principal architectural feature of each student room. Expressed externally through an arrangement of three-dimensional bays, the students’ windows create an abstracted fractal surface, the faceted façade evoking the play of sunlight on water. This facade uses repeatable components to minimise the number of unique fabrication forms. KPF developed computational scripts to define multiple variations of the randomised origami-like pattern that meet daylight and solidity requirements. This allowed designers to review multiple options quickly, and translate the design to the BIM model efficiently.
The scheme was approved at planning committee in May 2019. The design has progressed since the approval, utilising modern methods of construction to improve performance and reduce construction time.
Targeting BREEAM ‘Excellent’, the environmental design credential includes an all-electric system anticipating the decarbonised grid, air sourced heat pumps, natural ventilation and urban greening. Modern methods of construction will be used for internal and external elements, based on new developments in off-site fabrication and onsite assemblies. The efficiency of modern methods of construction can improve embodied and operational carbon and reduce site traffic.
A lightweight construction around a central core will enable reconfiguration at a future date. This means that the project could be adapted for different residential or hotel uses (or a mixture of both). Services throughout the building also allow for ease of refurbishment, including changes to room size and configuration. Adaptability to future requirements will extend the lifecycle of the building. Lightweight construction and limited fixed furniture will enable the social, study and wellness spaces at 1st, 37th and 38th floor to be programmed with flexibility in mind. These spaces will adapt with the changing needs of the residents over time.
Chapter London Bridge contributes to the public realm, creating a rich urban environment developed through consultation with local residents, groups and businesses. At ground level, the building is set back to provide more space for pedestrians. Active frontages ensure that the new building participates in the life of the area, bringing 24-hour activity.
Number of storeys: 39