New London Architecture will announce the winner of the most original and city-defining building in the capital on 7 July. With 137 projects nominated across seven categories, the competition is tough. From King’s Cross Square to The Tower Remembers, here are just a few of the architectural highlights from the last 12 months
NT Future is the major regeneration of the Grade II* Listed National Theatre to open the site up to its
changing context, remodel the entrance, refurbish the foyers, create new riverside cafés, transform the
Cottesloe (now the Dorfman) Theatre with improved foyer and education facilities, enhance workshops,
and provide a new production building, the Max Rayne Centre. The aim of the project is to connect Denys
Lasdun’s masterpiece with the public and the surrounding city, to transform its sustainability, and to equip
it to serve the National Theatre for continued artistic growth.
The major participatory programme ‘The Tower Remembers’ commemorated the WW1 centenary.
Consisting of the art installation ‘Blood Red Lands and Seas of Red’ created by Paul Cummins and Tom
Piper, the ‘Why Remember?’ international education project, the Tower at War exhibition, a major
volunteer project and a range of ceremonial and memorial events. The installation of 888,246 ceramic
poppies progressively filled the Tower’s moat to form the centrepiece of the programme evoking the sheer
scale of losses during the conflict. The project was a huge organisational feat for Historic Royal Palaces
who organised and delivered all elements of the programme.
Developed from an Avis garage, which was built in 1925, The Beaumont Hotel is Mayfair’s first 5-star
hotel in a decade. The hotel is Grosvenor’s first; the first to be operated by restaurateurs Corbin &
King; and is driving North Mayfair’s revitalisation. Let to Corbin and King on a profit-share lease,
Grosvenor made the decision to forgo a more profitable residential development in favour of a longterm
anchor to the area bringing vibrancy, amenity, identity and visitor appeal. The hotel comprises
73 bedrooms, a 100-seater classic New York-style restaurant and features the world’s first inhabitable
sculpture by Antony Gormley (ROOM).
The design involves optimising this prime west end site, rationalising uses and
configuration to provide a high quality mixed use development. The scheme comprises
part retaining the facade, part new build and part remodelling of a Grade II Listed building.
The new build development creates an efficient and integrated mixed-use scheme, comprising of around
80,000sqft of high quality flexible retail space and 26,000sqft of high quality private residential
accommodation, creating 18 new units. The retail maximises frontage to Oxford Street, with the future
opportunities to provide active frontage to Hanway Street.
A contemporary new family home that enhances its sensitive setting within the Highgate
Conservation area, Fitzroy park House replaces a 1950s house with a new building which takes
advantage of a sloped site to create a larger footprint in a series of interlocking volumes of timber,
glass and stone. Generous open plan living areas with expansive glazing are characterized by a
connection to their landscaped setting. A cantilevered upper floor floats among the tree canopies,
maximising the beauty and peaceful, natural surroundings of Hampstead Heath.
The Garden Bridge will be a stunning new public garden and pedestrian crossing spanning the River
Thames, linking the South Bank to Temple station and beyond. The project will provide a vital and unique
route between north and south London, encouraging sustainable travel and stimulating new business and
investment on both sides of the river. Extraordinary views of the city will be framed by a public garden
featuring five seasonal habitats of British indigenous plants species, adding to London’s rich and diverse
horticultural heritage. The project provides a unique opportunity to showcase and celebrate UK expertise
and innovation in engineering, landscaping and design, reinforcing London’s status as a world-class city.
King’s Cross Square forms a focal point at the heart of a district which, following decades of neglect, is
currently being injected with a new energy through a range of major urban and transport projects.
Forming an energising gateway to King’s Cross, it provides a new uncluttered public space, replacing the
old, unsightly 1970s temporary concourse with a sensitive design that fully reveals the historic Grade I
Listed station façade. The use of granite throughout provides a visual coherency and clarity to the Square
which is now an attractive, welcoming orientation and meeting space with retail, seating, trees and shelter.
King’s Cross Pond Club is a new art installation in the form of a natural bathing pond. The 40 metre long
pond has space for exactly 163 bathers per day and this is due to the entirely chemical free nature of the
installation. The water is purified through a natural, closed-loop process using wetland and submerged
water plants to filter the water and keep it clear. The pond is surrounded by wild flowers and grasses that
change with the season. The installation aims to make us think about the relationship between nature and
the urban environment – the permanence of buildings and the changing nature of undeveloped spaces.
Terminal 2 – The Queen’s Terminal, is the world’s first BREEAM Excellent airport terminal, and is one of the
safest and most sustainable in the world. Heathrow’s newest terminal provides a fitting gateway for 21st
century Britain, while setting a benchmark in quality for passengers, airlines and retailers. The iconic roof
is the most recognisable feature of Terminal 2; the floating, undulating enclosure forms giant vaults to
make navigation and way finding more intuitive. The three arches mark and guide the stages of the
passengers’ departure: check-in, security control and the departure lounge.
The Orangery at Ham Yard Hotel
The masterplan for Battersea Power Station is transforming this iconic building and the 40 acre former
industrial site on which it stands into a vibrant new neighbourhood comprising shops, restaurants,
offices, homes, parkland and providing the first self-funded tube extension of its type and scale yet to be
seen in the UK. Created by Rafael Viñoly and drawing on extensive consultation with the wider
community, the masterplan maintains the iconic Power Station as the focal point with new buildings
positioned such that they actively embrace the existing neighbourhood – with multiple points of public
access and exquisitely designed circulation space and green landscaping.
Category winners and the overall winner will be announced at the NLA Annual Lunch at the Guildhall on the 7 July. In addition, special awards will be presented for the New Londoner Award, the figure that has made a significant contribution to the capital in 2015, and the Mayor’s Prize, for the project which has most creatively contributed to London’s economy.