Retrofitting older buildings is one of the hardest challenges facing the housing sector. If done successfully, it creates new benchmarks and provides new learnings for others to follow. With this in mind, Housing Industry Leaders takes a look at the Gort Scott approval to retrofit a 1980s office block in London.
In an exciting announcement, Gort Scott has had plans to retrofit and extend an office block next to Liverpool Street station, London, into a mix-use building greenlit.
The City of London Corporation approved the plans and will also be the client for the scheme, utilising fabric first and keeping as much of the existing buildings’ current architecture. However, the front-facing facade will be replaced with a new design of rose-coloured ceramic panels rising from a pre-cast concrete base.
This appealed to the decision makers of the plans, as the fabric first approach often saves long-term costs, time and, in some circumstances, speeds up the retrofit process.
Retrofit plans will also blend with new infrastructure
Over 1,000sq m of new space is dedicated to creating a three-story roof extension, which features offset and angled walls. Aiming to fit into the rustic aesthetic of the area, it is hoped that proving retrofit and new builds can not disfigure the landscape may persuade people to be more accepting of increasing the housing supplying their local areas.
Dedicated to decarbonisation and active travel across the scheme, the ‘all-electric’ scheme will have solar panels across the complex, dedicated green spaces and expanded cycle facilities, encouraging modal shift.
Gort Scott director Jay Gort said the existing building, which is close to Liverpool Street’s Elizabeth line station, was an “underperforming asset”.
“The new building will work better, will feel better, and will have real character – something individual yet contextual,” he added.
Changing the perception of retrofit is essential
Retrofitting older buildings has traditionally been avoided, so this is a perfect opportunity to show people in other sectors, such as the social housing sector, what can be done, especially as brownfield and greenfield land can be in short supply in certain regions.
Working collaboratively with Structural Engineers, Project Managers, and Planning Consultants, Frankham Consultancy, Ridge, QS Artelia, Gerald Eve, M&E, Hilson Moran, and Portico Heritage are all part of the project.
Furthermore, the plan put forward by Maccreanor Lavington to construct a 24-story building for student accommodation in Elephant & Castle has received approval. The new triangular tower, comprising 244 rooms, is set to replace the previously authorised office project on the same site, which was designed by Collado Collins.
Both developments were commissioned by Joseph Homes, and HG Construction has been selected to oversee the construction of the student accommodation complex.