Year in Review: The past 12 months of our London Office
By David Lindsey
17 December 2020
"2020; a year that has felt extraordinarily long and yet one wonders where the time has gone." To round up the year, David Lindsey, leader of our London Office, gives a short overview of the achievements of our office in the UK's capital city.
Probably the most exciting piece of news from this year was the launch of our Net Zero Carbon Guide. Following the verification of all five of our offices as net zero carbon for operational energy (the first business in the UK to do this!) and us signing up to the World Green Building Council's Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, we have developed a free and open resource for the construction industry that provides practical and in-depth knowledge on how we can build net zero.
Routemap to Net Zero Carbon
A number of projects finished this year, including:
- Chesterfield House, a strategic site providing 239 apartments over two towers of 26 and 21 storeys, retail space, a public square and a community centre in the heart of Wembley Central
- Maggie's Leeds, a new centre for the charity, providing free cancer support in Yorkshire
- Fairfield Halls, the renowned 1960’s concert venue in the heart of the London Borough of Croydon
- Scape Guildford and Brighton student accommodation buildings
- Alfriston School Performing Arts Building
- the first phase of Prince of Wales Drive
- Lambeth Palace, the new library and archive, located near the Thames in central London, has practically-completed and will house one of the world’s most important religious literature collections when it opens its doors in Spring 2021
Lambeth Palace Library & Archive
We’ve won and been shortlisted for a number of awards, including
- winning three BREEAM Awards
- being shortlisted twice in the CIBSE Building Performance Awards
- a New London Architecture (NLA) Award 2020 for Old Paradise Street, Lambeth, which emerged as the winner in the ‘Working’ category, with another three of our projects being ‘highly commended’
- being amongst the six finalists of the housing design competition 'Home of 2030', together with Outpost Architects
- Fairfield Halls and The Twist emerging as the 2020 Building Awards winner in their categories
- Maggie's Leeds being the Dezeen Public Vote winner for Civic Building of the Year
- 14 of our projects having been shortlisted as Regional Finalists for the 2021 Civic Trust Awards
The Twist, Kistefos: A gallery, a bridge and a sculpture, all in one building
As most of us, our Light+Air Group had to find new ways of working this year, and so they have developed and launched our Climate Linked Photometric Simulation – a highly accurate and detailed visual model of every one of our jobs which allows us to experiment with lights and fenestration.
The Acoustics Team have spent a good chunk of this year trying to find ways to measure sound that wasn’t there, when traffic noise, train noise and a lot of noise from buildings suddenly disappeared over the various lockdowns. Apart from that, they’ve helped get planning permission for wind tunnels at Whittle Labs in Cambridge, and CLT student accommodation at Lucy Cavendish School. They have also helped hand over the refurbishment of renowned 1960’s concert venue Fairfield Halls, a religious archive at Lambeth Palace, and a project encompassing a leisure centre, theatre and 400+ residential units in Woolwich. OIur Acoustics Team even found time to expand their offering and added AV Design to their range of services, which they have now completed on Lee Valley Ice Centre and are in the process of delivering for the Natural History Museum’s Urban Nature Project, whose outdoor spaces we'll help transform to support wildlife, research, conservation and biodiversity.
The Urban Nature Project will transform the Natural History Museum's outdoor spaces to support wildlife, research, conservation and biodiversity
We're back working on the Central Bank of Iraq, which is now under construction with the basement and podiums well under way and the tower already reaching over 10 floors.
And we’re looking forward to working on a number of new, exciting projects in 2021, including:
- Birmingham Smithfield regeneration: as part of the team led by David Kohn Architects, we have been chosen by Lendlease to design a mixed-use market building at the heart of the site's £1.5 billion regeneration
- Smithfield Market: alongside Studio Egret West, we’ll contribute to reworking the Grade II*-listed East and West Market buildings at London’s iconic market
Overall, it has been a turbulent, yet rewarding, year for the Practice and we're looking forward to what 2021 will bring.
From 14 - 18 December 2020, we're publishing a series of blog posts written by the leader of each of our five offices across the UK. You can read all of our Year in Review blog posts here.