london architecture roundup: the ambitious projects taking shape by calatrava, gehry, + more

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earlier this month, the organization behind london’s proposed garden bridge officially announced the closure of thomas heatherwick’s much talked-about scheme.

earlier this month, the organization behind london’s proposed garden bridge officially announced the closure of thomas heatherwick’s much talked-about scheme. however, the project, which was shelved due to opposition from the city’s mayor, is not the only large-scale development that the british designer is working on in the UK capital: plans for google’s new london HQ (drawn up alongside BIG) were recently approved, while construction is well underway at coal drops yard, a high-end retail destination near kings cross station.

in addition to heatherwick, a host of other big names — including frank gehry, santiago calatrava, david chipperfield — are also working on projects in london. with the constantly evolving city set to receive a flurry of new architectural landmarks, we round up some of the ambitious schemes taking shape below.

earlier this year, london’s first piece of architecture by santiago calatrava was unveiled. planned for the greenwich peninsula, the £1 billion landmark will feature a new tube and bus station, theater, cinema, and a multitude of commercial facilities and retail outlets. developed by knight dragon, ‘peninsula place’ will span a total of 1.4 million square feet. three towers will rise above the existing cityscape comprising offices, apartments and hotels — all of which will be connected to the river thames via a new land bridge. the project is expected to complete by 2020.

located on the south bank of the river thames, the decommissioned battersea power station is being transformed into a new destination that contains over 2 million square feet (185,806 sqm) of retail outlets, leisure facilities, offices, and luxury residences. set to open in 2020, the power station will form part of a regenerated 40-acre site that also includes new buildings by frank gehry and foster + partners. the project will feature a high street, coined ‘the electric boulevard’, that will serve as a gateway, connecting the northern line underground extension station with the 42-acre site. over 1,3000 residential units, a 160-room hotel, and 350,000 square feet of retail and dining space is articulated around the pedestrianized avenue.

linking the southern entrance of the restored power station with the top of the boulevard is ‘malaysia square’, a public plaza designed by danish architect bjarke ingels. the design is envisioned as a two-level ‘urban canyon’ with integrated bridges and stairways that reference malaysia’s landscape and geology. the spaces will be clad with a wide variety of material finishes, including limestone, granite and marble, reminiscent of the caves found in the country’s gunung mulu national park. at the center of the amphitheater, a fountain is planned, which will take the form of malaysia’s national flower.

earlier in 2017, google revealed the first images of its planned london headquarters — a vast 11-storey building that has been collaboratively designed by heatherwick studio and bjarke ingels group. the purpose-built structure will be combined with google’s current building at 6 pancras square and a third building to create a campus with the potential to house 7,000 employees. with the project now approved, the king’s cross campus will comprise more than 1 million square feet, with google occupying 65% of the available floor area. construction work is expected to get underway in 2018.

nearby, ‘coal drops yard’, a new retail destination first revealed in 2015, is taking shape ahead of its public opening in autumn 2018. situated next to regent’s canal, and near london’s kings cross station, the development comprises 65 units of varying sizes that will accommodate a wide range of shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants. the project has again been conceived by the studio of thomas heatherwick, whose scheme embraces a historic site that dates back to the mid-19th century.

over in canary wharf, construction is also underway on a new residential tower designed by swiss firm herzog & de meuron. the 58-storey building, which is the acclaimed swiss firm’s first residential project in the UK, will contain a total of 483 luxury apartments as well as a range of on-site amenities. the tower features a fitness suite, complete with a gym and 20-meter swimming pool, as well as a steam room and sauna.

in november 2016, david chipperfield architects received conditional planning permission to convert eero saarinen’s mid-20th century building at grosvenor square, which currently serves as the london embassy for the united states. following public consultation, the existing structure will be renovated and converted into a 137-room hotel with restaurants, retail outlets, and events space. backed by qatari diar, the development is on track to open in 2020.

in july 2016, the museum of london selected stanton williams and asif khan to design its new institution at west smithfield. the team was chosen ahead of five other proposals from established names such as BIG, caruso st john, and lacaton & vassal. the winning concept includes a lifted dome that creates a light-filled entrance, with spiral escalators transporting visitors down to the exhibition galleries in a vast excavated underground chamber. a sunken garden and various green spaces also form part of the plan. the museum intends to submit a planning application for the west smithfield site to the city of london corporation in 2018, and to deliver the new institution by 2022.

finally, in early 2017, the united kingdom launched an international design competition for a national memorial and learning center to honor the victims and survivors of the holocaust. 10 schemes — from creatives such as david adjaye, daniel libeskind, and anish kapoor — were unveiled with a winner set to be announced in summer 2017. the memorial will be located in london, alongside the houses of parliament and adjacent to the river thames. see each of the proposals, with thoughts from their designers, here.

london architecture roundup: the ambitious projects taking shape by calatrava, gehry, + more