The long-expected, and at times controversial plans for something to be built on top of Southwark tube station are back.
Southwark station was designed by Sir Richard MacCormac as part of the Jubilee line extension, and as with most tube stations was always intended to have something on top. It’s just taken 20 years to decide what.
A recent suggestion would have seen the tube station’s Holden-inspired rotunda ticket hall rebuilt, and that provoked a lot of anger, so a new design has been provided which will retain that space.
The difficulty for the developer is that the while the station was intended to be built on, they now want to build something much larger than was intended, and the foundations for the tube station ticket hall won’t support the larger building.
So while they’ve gone for a lightweight construction, the building was still too heavy, and that’s why it has the distinctive cut-outs in the walls, to reduce the weight of the building.
The Proposed Development comprises a commercial office building, including a mix of retail, food and beverage uses and workspace at the ground and first floor, and public realm improvements above Southwark Station. As part of the works, the pavement on The Cut on the approach to Southwark station will be widened to improve the pedestrian environment and allowing for a dedicated space for cyclists.
A nod to the London Underground exists in the facade, which will be based on the colours of the tube lines.
Where the design is weak though is how the curved entrance of the tube station sits with the more angular design of the building above. The original concept for the oversite development back in the 1990s was for a column which would have matched the station entrance. The office block as proposed has some appealing traits, but the lack of connection with the tube station entrance is a disappointment.
If planning permission is granted, this also has the potential to be one of the first wholly TfL driven property developments. TfL has traditionally worked in partnerships.
The proposals have been enabled by an agreed land exchange with the London Borough of Southwark, which has created the opportunity for the residents of the Styles House Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) to design their own new homes.
The design is by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM).
Images from the planning application.
Edited to include some additional information from TfL.