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City of London Planning Consent for Millennium Bridge House

23rd July

The redevelopment of Millennium Bridge House, for clients Angelo Gordon and Beltane Asset Management, received planning consent from the City of London on Tuesday 14 July, 2020. When complete, the scheme will provide 27,275sqm GIA of B1 class office space along with 2,432sqm GIA of new complementary A class uses and 2,527sqm of rooftop gardens.

The architectural response draws upon the site’s rich context - the dockside heritage of the River Thames to the south and the Baroque architectural context of St Paul’s and St Mary Somerset to the north - whilst resolving complex infrastructure issues and prioritising high levels of sustainability, including the retention of much of the existing structural frame.

The design of the building responds sensitively to the townscape context of St Paul’s Cathedral and St Mary Somerset Church through its calm overall appearance and a richness in detail. Natural limestone is used to create a high quality, calm and timeless appearance to the building’s primary facade elements.

Using circular economy, carbon reduction and the resource efficiency principles of reusing the existing structural frame, the project aims to achieve BREEAM Excellent and a 61% reduction in Carbon emissions over baseline Building Regulations requirements.

An innovative and energy efficient approach to heat recovery and thermal storage reduces the amount of rooftop plant required to service the building, creating an all electric solution that maximises the area available for rooftop gardens. This creates an attractive environment that encourages biodiversity, attenuates rainwater and reduces the urban heat island effect. The 2,527sqm rooftop landscape designed with Andy Sturgeon Design, includes a 375sqm freely publicly accessible terrace and 570sqm publicly accessible restaurant terrace which maximise urban greening and external amenity space with new views over the River Thames and north to St Paul’s.

The street level public realm will be improved through the addition of a series of new A class uses creating 105 linear meters of new active frontage along Paul’s Walk and Peter’s Hill. Expressed red-oxide steelwork supports the cantilever along Paul’s Walk creating a civic backdrop to the river and a sheltered area of public realm along the Thames Path, whilst evoking the memory of Sunlight Wharf; a building which once stood at the site and contained some of the last riverside cranes in the City.

Large format openable glazed windows and doors maximise natural light and connections to the River. These also make reference to the large openings of historic warehouses that allowed goods and materials to be lifted directly off the boats from the River Thames.

Stuart Piercy, Founding Director of Piercy&Company, said:
“This project negotiates many contextual and infrastructural issues. It is a building that bridges one of the key arteries into the city of London; modestly addresses the Grade 1 listed St Paul’s Cathedral and St Mary Somerset Church; references the expressive nature of dockside architecture; brings back to life a forgotten stretch of the north bank of the river; provides a beautiful publicly accessible garden on the roof; all the while addressing the changing nature of workspace with a light filled, adaptable and sustainable design.”

Duncan Roe, Founding Partner of Beltane Asset Management said:
“We are delighted with the City of London’s Planning and Transportation Committee’s decision to approve our proposals to bring forward the comprehensive refurbishment of Millennium Bridge House.

The building’s prominent central London location on the River Thames offers an opportunity to create a stunning new piece of architecture that complements the riverscape and sits sensitively in the foreground of one of the City’s greatest heritage assets, St Paul’s Cathedral.

Our proposal seeks to breathe fresh life into a building at the end of its economic cycle. When complete, the building will provide a significantly enhanced office offering to the market alongside a series of public realm enhancements and new retail uses to meet the objectives of the City of London, and the needs of its businesses, residents, workers and visitors”

Najib Sheeka, Senior Associate At Heyne Tillett Steel said:
“With the current scheme keeping approximately 80% of the existing structure we are able to save 3500TCO2e. The all-timber feature kite roof has also saved 340TCO2e (10% of overall development) compared to a steel frame option, leading to overall structural embodied carbon of 95kgCO2e/m2 for the development. We have also been able to push the original design to have minimal strengthening to the existing structure, resulting in a highly efficient structural design that underlines the strong environmental credentials of the project.”

Ashley Merrett, Associate Director at NDY said:
“The challenge of locating significant thermal storage in the basement has been embraced by the team. This action enabled the removal of combustible fuel from the site and the inclusion of heat recovery technology which will not only improve the carbon footprint of the building but positively contribute to the air quality in the local area.”

Alastair Moss, Chair of the Planning and Transportation Committee at the City of London Corporation, said:
“This development sensitively enhances a unique location that illustrates spectacular and contrasting City architecture – from the Baroque style St Paul’s Cathedral to the more modern Millennium Bridge.

“These plans for Millennium Bridge House are a fantastic example of the sustainable re-use of an existing structure, which is just one of the many ways the City Corporation encourages environmentally friendly building practice.

“Roof terraces have proven very popular in many City developments and it is fantastic that workers, residents and visitors alike are once again set to benefit from outstanding urban space being created in the Square Mile.”

See Millennium Bridge House