The million-dollar view to London’s House of Parliament and Westminster Bridge will soon include a jewel-like addition.
Sheppard Robson, based in London, is working with real estate investment firm Delancey to make way for a new 345,000-square-foot, 12-story building located in the South Bank neighborhood, near the Thames River. Named Westminster Place, which refers to its view of the famous Westminster borough across the river, the building resembles a cut gemstone. “Because it looks at the House of Parliament, we wanted to create a design that would be appropriate as a landmark for the skyline,” says David Ardill, design director at Sheppard Robson.
The circular building's facade comprises two layers of continuous glass. The inner layer is double-glazed and consists of a series of vertical bands, while the outer skin is supported by a crisscross pattern of dichroic glass fins. Structural steel columns shaped like prongs support the curtain wall, calling to mind a setting for a diamond engagement ring.
The original plan for this project was created by Kohn Pedersen Fox. By the time construction was set to begin, it did not meet new sustainability requirements established by the city. In the fall of 2007, Sheppard Robson was brought in to review the KPF scheme and to ensure it conformed to the new rules.
Sheppard Robson proposed the revamped design in September 2007, and city planners gave it the green light in June. Construction is slated to begin in February 2009.