Fletcher Priest is delighted that One New Ludgate has won the Developer Project of the Year with our client Land Securities at the LEAF awards. Entries were received from all over the world for this prestigious award which also saw Calatrava receive a lifetime achievement award.
New Ludgate is the transformation of a City block into a generous and lively new quarter for London. It sets up a dialogue between two striking and complementary new buildings whilst reinstating and improving the public realm around it and new routes through the city block.
It is, in essence, a new piece of city.
It is a site redolent with history. From here the Belle Sauvage coaching inn welcomed or saw off numerous fictional and real travellers; Pocahontas and London’s first live rhinoceros paid visits. Later came railway engineers who put an iron viaduct across Ludgate Hill, and World War II, which left the site in ruins.
The site on the old city wall of Ludgate Hill was formerly home to some outdated 1980s office buildings, the tallest element of which breached Primrose Hill viewing corridor height restrictions, and which offered little in the way of public amenity, with a dull sunken arcade at its lower levels.
Fletcher Priest was asked to masterplan the site in collaboration with Sauerbruch Hutton by Land Securities, separating it into two headquarter-sized office buildings – Two New Bailey to the north, designed by Sauerbruch Hutton with Fletcher Priest as executive architect, and One New Ludgate designed by Fletcher Priest.
By creating a new passageway between the two – a route named Belle Sauvage after the 15th century coaching inn that once operated nearby and featured in Pickwick Papers and Tom Brown’s Schooldays – the scheme could also form a new open space at the east that catches the lunchtime sun for office workers and the public alike. The square here – with a nod to precedents in Rome, is defined by façades and plays off an existing terracotta Victorian elevation opposite. This space has been designed with as little of a ‘corporate’ feel as possible.
Around the site, street lines, grades and views are repaired and improved, such as the processional route to the western entrance of St Paul’s.
This, along with much of the massing of the scheme and the curve of the street, was generated by the St Paul’s view corridor, while the main design idea was to reinstate the connection of old City lanes from Farringdon, building on a site that is steeped in history and where the Fleet River used to flow.
The 165,000 sq ft One New Ludgate building itself comprises nine storeys plus ground floors. It is animated by bars and retail outlets under fixed white glass awnings. The building uses a façade concept of a masonry grid that keeps off direct sunlight and throws light onto the floorplates and, when viewed obliquely from the street’s wide pavements, gives a solidity to the building. ‘We wanted something quite cool and modern, whereas the other building may be more playful’, says Steve Barton, Partner Fletcher Priest Architects.
White precast concrete frames, simply detailed, respect their neighbours and set off the floor-to-ceiling low-ion glazing, while vivid amber ‘Kathedral’ glass fins are used on the piazzetta ‘accent’ façade in the new public space, where a mature tree provides shade and visual link for Belle Sauvage. A floating plane of photovoltaic cells lines the roofscape along with plant and a green roof, while both buildings flank a still-operating two and a half-storey city electrical interchange, which allows light into the heart of the site.
One New Ludgate also boasts extensive private external space, accessible from every office floor. This includes set-back loggia and balconies and a substantial south-facing terrace with uninterrupted views of St Paul’s which is capable of accommodating 300 people at the fifth floor set-back level, landscaped as elsewhere by Gustafson Porter.
Retail and restaurants line the ground floor, reinstated at grade, while the passageway’s York stone paving morphs from standard York stone into dark granite to draw pedestrians through. In terms of sustainability, both buildings on the site are BREEAM ‘Excellent’, influenced mainly in One New Ludgate’s case by the amount of daylighting it has been designed to achieve, reducing the need for artificial light on the office floors.
The collaboration helped the planning and letting process with both teams of architects appearing at committee and helping to achieve a relatively straight forward passage through the planning system. There were a lot of gains for the city including the repair of the public realm, wider pavements, the new element of public space and the reinstatement of the St Paul’s viewing heights so that the breach was taken away.
One New Ludgate data sheet:
GIA - 23,017 m2
NIA - 16,949 m2
Appointment - February 2010
Planning - August 2010
Start on site - August 2013
Practical completion - March 2015
Occupation - October 2015
Client - Land Securities
Architects - Fletcher Priest Architects
Landscape Architects - Gustafson Porter
Planning Authority - City of London
Photography credit - Timothy Soar
About Fletcher Priest Architects
Fletcher Priest Architects was established in 1978 and remains strategically located in the heart of London. The office consists of over 100 people with an additional German studio established in 1992 and in Riga in 2007. Our work covers urban design, architecture and interiors with the skills and experience of specialists within each scale of work informing the other.
Fletcher Priest Architects have worked for a diverse range of clients in the public and private sector, including some of the world’s leading organisations, as well as most of the UK’s leading developers and contractors. Each project is a unique solution driven by the operational needs of the clients reflecting their ability to understand, collaborate, consult and communicate with a wide range of audiences. Increasingly their projects help to change established working methods, create new corporate and social cultures and deliver transformational solutions.
The practice is certified both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and is a member of both the UK Green Building Council and UK Urban Design Group. The practice is again a member of the AJ100 this year.