David Chipperfield stirs up London’s Canada Water
"Lifeless, out-of-town, retail-park look" to be reinvigorated with The Shard developers
Property developers Sellar Developments are best known in the construction world for the Shard by Renzo Piano, a project so ambitious many thought it might never happen.
Their plans for another site in the London borough of Southwark are perhaps less dramatic, but look like making a real difference to a hitherto rather architecturally neglected area. This time, rather than call on overseas talent, they’ve turned to Londoner David Chipperfield.
Planning permission has just been granted for a triumvirate of mixed-use buildings on the Thames at the architecturally uninspiring Canada Water: a tower and two more lowly buildings.
This, of course, will be music to Chipperfield’s ears, as he’s had bad news on a couple of London schemes in the last week or so: his extension of the Geffrye Museum has fallen through, and the building of Elizabeth House in Westminster is likely to be delayed.
The Canada Water buildings - a long slender block on columns, a medium-height block and a slim 150m tower - are trademark Chipperfield: sleek, clean and understated. The designs are part of Canada Water’s regeneration programme, which includes more housing by Maccreanor Lavington – who also handled the masterplan - and Dutch practice Claus en Kaan Architecten. Altogether, the three practices will be responsible for 231 affordable flats and another 800 commercially-sold apartments.
There’s no doubt that the area could do with a facelift. As Fiona Colley at Southwark Council puts it: “The new homes will replace the lifeless, out-of-town, retail-park look the area is associated with."
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