A lively mixed-use scheme in the heart of Waterloo, reconnecting the site with the existing vibrant and independent community.
The hinterland around London’s Waterloo Station is one of London’s most complex areas. It is a meeting place for major rail and road routes, a destination for thousands of commuters and tourists and a location for diverse buildings within a streetscape that is always characterful, but occasionally challenging.
Working within this context, Conran and Partners were asked by Lambeth Council – via an open competition – to design a mixed-use building in Lower Marsh which would offer new retail and work spaces. The colourful nature of immediately adjacent areas such as The Vaults Theatre and Leake Street tunnel – characterised by its ‘street graffiti’ – contribute to the sense of Lower Marsh as a distinctive and idiosyncratic place, set apart from the more commercial adjoining areas of Waterloo and the South Bank.
It was key that the design responded to the area’s vibrant, independent community. The practice sought to develop a scheme which complemented the diverse streetscape and its market, while recognising the potential to create a new area of public space in the existing Granby Place, that carries through to the archways under the station.
The proposal incorporates retail – including a restaurant or café – on the ground floor and office space across four levels above. Office space is of a scale that will be appropriate for co-working, accommodating small businesses which will benefit from the site’s close proximity to Waterloo Station.
The approach to the materiality and detailing of the external envelope is influenced by the materials, colours and textures of the surrounding buildings and structures. Brick cladding has been used to create a warm, familiar contemporary presence on the streetscape of Lower Marsh itself.
To the rear, the building steps down, offering a number of roof terraces overlooking the courtyard.
There is a strong visual connectivity between Lower Marsh and Granby Place and passers-by are enticed into the space by glimpses of the courtyard and trees from the street.