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AHMM reveals designs for 24-storey office tower in the City

AHMM reveals designs for 24-storey office tower in the City

Demolition v re-use – the architect’s view

In approaching this site, we made a conscious decision that any new building should not just be assessed against a minimum 60-year design life, but aspire to last at least a generation longer – if not indefinitely. This has resulted in a design that has the potential to eradicate the previous trends of ‘build mean, replace often’ and is more generous, flexible and permanent, with sustainability at its heart.

AHMM reveals designs for 24-storey office tower in the City

The existing site and building have a number of significant issues regarding sustainability. The site is an accumulation of 1980s developments built in succession, with no overall continuity in terms of structure, floor levels or MEP strategies. The buildings’ compressed floor-to-ceiling heights, dense network of columns and disparate cores are problematic for the needs of current office occupiers and modern working practices. Furthermore, the existing spaces have no access to natural ventilation, low levels of mechanical ventilation, limited daylight, inflexible floor plans, and limited provision of the amenities needed by modern occupiers.

Given the low quality of the original architecture and the lack of what we might characterise as ‘good bones’, the ability to transform this area of London through generous and expanded public realm, active frontages and urban greening (all the more pressing, given the impact of the pandemic) could not be accommodated with the retention of the existing building fabric.

We have approached the design via strict and continuously measured carbon and operational energy density budgets, which have helped ensure we deliver the most positive sustainability outcomes for a new-build development.

Unlike the convention of ‘design first, measure later’, the project set out with a carbon and operational energy budget from the start – these budgets have been used to evaluate all project decisions.