Like many commissions this project was won in competition against some of London’s most established practices. The site comprises an urban island site with only a relatively narrow frontage facing Strand. The longest aspects are to Arundel Street, which runs from Strand to the river, and Milford Lane to the east, which abounds the Inns of Court. The site was occupied by an oppressive, high concrete slab block and its removal was an opportunity to positively contribute to the Conservation Area and the immediately adjacent Grade 1 Listed St Clements Dane Church and The Royal Courts of Justice.
While retained as a site with four frontages the development form is a series of urban blocks arranged around two courtyards and connected by an internal colonnade. The architecture to Strand and Arundel Street has been developed through a reading of the Beaux Arts and English Baroque buildings of Aldwych and Kingsway. A layered façade of stone, metalwork and glass are counterpoint with laser cut metal filigree balustrades. The filigree, as a motif and a technique, is also used to create the ‘mansard’ roof form, providing a veil to the residential terraces behind. These elements underwent extensive R&D to ensure that the material, colours and pattern would be correctly perceived from a local and urban viewpoint.
The proposal controversially removes an entire street that divides the site whilst widening and enhancing the historic Tweezers Alley to the southern boundary. The urban form is strengthened with facades tight to the back of pavement, active frontages and single surfaced roads to the east to allow better access to local pubs and cafes in the narrow streets to Temple.
Underpinning the accommodation in a 4 storey basement including a leisure facility, business centre and energy centre.