Proposals for a brand-new commercial building at Elephant Park in zone one of central London have been released by Lendlease, the international real estate and investment group. As the London economy emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic, the striking new building will aim to set new standards for workspace in the post pandemic world.
A progressive return to pre Covid conditions is expected as London reopens and Lendlease believes in the resilience of the city. The new building would align perfectly with the health, wellbeing and environmental priorities being set by today’s most forward-thinking businesses.
With 485,000 square feet of office space the building, designed by award-winning firm ACME, responds to a much-needed requirement for new workspace and employment in the heart of Elephant & Castle itself. Delivery of a new building that will combine office and retail space has the potential to provide work for around 4,000 people.
Its introduction to the area would support Elephant & Castle’s growing economy of independent retailers, first rate leisure amenities and world class education institutions. The architectural quality and scale of the building will allow a diverse workplace to emerge within Elephant Park, one of the capital’s most exciting places to live, work or visit.
Covid-19 has acted as an accelerant to changes already taking place in the workplace, and organisations are making real estate decisions that will help them respond quicker to future change. Buildings will need to be sustainable and inspiring places that can bring businesses of all sizes together. To meet that need the design of this new building is focused around people, being flexible enough to be able to lead and respond to future workplace trends, including the impacts of the pandemic on ways of working.
Companies are expected to seek out new workplace neighbourhoods in the capital which are well connected, with access to open space and a vibrant and spirited local community. Easy access to green space is becoming more important than ever for companies who care about the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff, and workers will be able to step from the lobby of the new building to the lawn of Elephant Park without crossing a road.
The construction of Elephant Park began in 2013 and Lendlease is now over halfway through the construction of thousands of new homes. Over 2,300 new homes have been completed and construction of another 646 is underway. The 24/7 neighbourhood of Elephant & Castle is expected to be an advantage for businesses looking to find an active area to work in and where a diverse range of activities and a thriving neighbourhood is nearby for workers to experience.
Sustainability is at the heart of all Elephant Park projects, and is expected to grow in importance with an expectation in the future of net zero carbon in operation buildings. Efficient and adaptable buildings and technology will be critical to the long-term relevance and success of commercial buildings. And sustainability sits at the core of the proposals for the new building at Elephant Park.
A range of environmental measures have been included that respond to the need to address climate change. An extensive and innovative use of cross laminated timber for the office floors will reduce its embodied carbon by half when compared to similar buildings. Lendlease also intends that the building exceed London Plan targets for carbon saving measures.
Plans are also in place to harness the positive impacts of biophilic design. The greenery of the park is proposed to continue around the building at street level. That green thread will continue up and around the building, spilling out onto a number of outdoor terraces (16 in total), which will provide further outdoor spaces for future occupiers to enjoy.
The building will offer more than new workspace. Located at the northern end of Walworth Road, it will build on the reputation Elephant Park has already established for high quality public spaces. A significant proportion of the ground floor of the new building will be delivered as a publicly accessible lobby space for the local community, workers and visitors to meet, chat, relax and socialise.
Lendlease’s proposal to deliver a significant increase in commercial floorspace at Elephant Park is also a direct response to current planning policy to increase employment and quality workspace in Elephant & Castle. Subject to planning approval, the building will provide around 10 per cent of Southwark’s projected requirement for new employment floorspace over the next 15 years, and it will meet a strategic need for jobs at Elephant & Castle identified in both the New Southwark Plan and the London Plan.
Kristy Lansdown, Lendlease Project Director of Elephant Park, said: “The revitalisation of Elephant & Castle has been taking place for over a decade, and it is symbolic of the area’s success and the evolution of the town centre that there is now such a clear need for new high-quality workspace. Our plans not only address this need but provide an architecturally exciting and sustainable building that we think will appeal to London’s most dynamic businesses; whilst also providing a positive social impact for the local community through opportunities for employment, new workspace and more footfall to local businesses.”
Friedrich Ludewig, ACME Founding Director said: 'We are proud to see this unique timber building progress to planning stage. This is our tallest timber building to date, and sets a new benchmark for timber structures in London. Located directly beside Elephant Park, greenery surrounds the ground level and extends up onto the south-facing stepped outdoor terraces located on every level of the building. This creates an open, inviting workplace of the future. The scheme includes affordable workspaces for innovators. Michael Faraday, one of most influential scientists in history, was born close by. He rose from humble beginnings to Royal Scientist. Faraday's groundbreaking work in magnetism and optics has inspired the team, and has shaped the façade design and many parts of the interior.'
Elephant Park is a £2.5bn regeneration project taking shape in Elephant & Castle, delivered by Lendlease in partnership with Southwark Council. A decision on planning is expected before the end of 2021.
- Lendlease is a leading international property and infrastructure group with operations in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Our purpose is: Together we create value through places where communities thrive.
- Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, Lendlease has approximately 10,900 employees internationally. Our core capabilities are reflected in our operating segments of Development, Investments and Construction.