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South Kensington Tube Station Set for ‘Sympathetic’ Transformation

South Kensington Tube station, which currently mixes Victorian charm with 21st century chaos, is due to be given a modern yet ‘sympathetic’ makeover with new homes, shops and workspace 

Lead image: © Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Native Land and Transport for London (TfL) have unveiled proposals to restore and improve South Kensington Tube station and the surrounding streets.

The proposals, designed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, aim to sensitively repair and enhance the Grade-II listed station and surrounding area’s historic streets, while improving the landscape for those living, working and visiting locally.

As well as restoring the historic station arcade, improving the main station entrances and delivering step-free access to the District and Circle lines via a new entrance on Thurloe Street, a key part of the development will be improvements to properties around the station.

Plans to transform South Kensington Tube station and the surrounding streets

An overview of the plans to transform South Kensington Tube station and the surrounding streets (image © Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners)

‘These proposals have been developed through careful study of the historic context of the station and surrounding streetscape,’ said Tracy Meller, Partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

The plan ‘reconnects the site to its streets and squares, with buildings of a quality, proportion and scale sympathetic to their context,’ she added.

‘These proposals have been developed through careful study of the historic context of the station and surrounding streetscape’

The plan to transform the area at street-level include the development of a five-storey building with workspace, restaurants and shops to create a renewed sense of place while being mindful of the heritage of the area.

The design of the new ‘Bullnose’ building – referred to as such because of its unique, curved shape – at the front of the station is informed by the initial 19th century vision for the site (structural drawings show it was originally designed to accommodate several floors).

The building will be contemporary in style, but sympathetic to its context, utilising the iconic signage from above the arcade entrance across the new retail units.

The proposals also include the provision of a number of new homes – approximately 40 – around the station, including along the station side of Pelham Street, reinstating the historic row of buildings that existed there previously. New retail opportunities will also be created with the potential for independent outlets and a focus on health and wellbeing.

Also included in the plans is the upgrading of the building along Thurloe Street to the north of the station, with the provision of new homes behind the historic Regency facade, replacing the current apartments, as well as new homes in Thurloe Square to reinstate housing where the square connects with Pelham Place, which were removed during the construction of the railway.

‘The proposals include the provision of a number of new homes around the station’

Customers using South Kensington will also benefit from the ongoing transformation of the District and Circle lines, with a new, modern signalling system currently being installed on both lines.

In January 2018, TfL was granted Listed Building Consent by Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, for proposals to upgrade South Kensington station.

Designed by architects Weston Williamson, the upgrade work will include rebuilding a new eastbound District and Circle line platform, and expanding the ticket hall and gate line to facilitate more streamlined journeys for customers using the station (work is due to start this year).

The new system aims to increase train frequency, provide more capacity and make journeys quicker across 40% of the Tube network.



 

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