WilkinsonEyre to flatten ‘a fine example of Georgian Revival architecture’

The City of London Corporation has decided to approve firm AJ100’s plans to replace Thavies Inn House in Holborn Circus with a 10-storey biophilic office building with retail space on the ground floor.

The Twentieth Century Society had opposed the 12,102 m² development by Evans Randall Investors.

In its submission to planners, made in November last year, it said it considered Thavies Inn House to be a ‘good example of Georgian Revival architecture’ and an undesignated heritage property ‘worth preserving’ .

Thavies Inn House was designed as an office building by Lewis Solomon, Son & Joseph in the 1930s, and extended in 1955-60 in New Fetter Lane.

“We do not believe that the heritage damage caused by its demolition is justified or outweighed by the few public benefits of the new office and retail program,” the company said.

But Shravan Joshi, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s planning and transport committee, which approved the proposal last Friday (July 1), said the project offered “top quality office development” and “spaces improved audiences.

He said: “I welcome efforts to embed sustainability at the heart of this redevelopment, providing a net gain in green space, encouraging walking and cycling and incorporating low carbon measures into the design of the building.

“Programs that provide a vibrant public realm, alongside office spaces that meet the needs of a modern workforce, will continue to bring people back to the city as our recovery gathers pace.”

The development includes a new south-facing pocket park and the widening of St Andrew’s Street. It is aiming for a BREEAM Outstanding rating and will be car-free outside designated spaces for Blue Badge holders, offering 168 places for long stays and 85 for short stays.

The design includes a net gain of 846 m² of green space, 23 additional trees, vertical plantings and green roofs.

Yasmin Al-Ani Spence, WilkinsonEyre Project Director, said: “Our proposals aim to create not only a positive, sustainable and healthy workplace, but also a building that positively engages with its urban surroundings, recalling the history of Holborn Circus and embracing the tradition of the City of London. of pocket parks.

“This new public space, away from the hustle and bustle of the highway, will offer a moment of calm both to future occupants and to the public.”

WilkinsonEyre said in November he had “examined the reuse of the existing building extensively” and carried out a detailed life-cycle carbon assessment with Sweco and the AKTII engineer.

A spokesperson told the AJ at the time: ‘[The] the structure possessed no residual capacity for extension, and there were a number of fundamental areas of the building’s structural systems which made adaptation impractical with even minor alterations requiring large swathes of demolition.

Welcoming the approval of the scheme, Evans Randall Investors Managing Director Ned Williams said the design would “set the standard for modern occupiers, meeting and exceeding required operational, durability and experience standards” .

Evans Randall Investors bought the site in 2016 for £33m.

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