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Civic Trust Awards
Urbanest City

Urbanest City

City of London, Greater London

Civic Trust Awards Citation

Urbanest City is a mixed-use building, located between Aldgate & Fenchurch Street stations, in the City of London. It provides high-quality student housing, incubator and flexible office space, with a café and public exhibition space at its heart. 

Blending modern functionality with historical preservation, the restoration and prominent display of a large section of London’s Roman City Wall within a free-to-enter exhibition space add a cultural and historical dimension to the development. The juxtaposition of contemporary design elements with the ancient wall creates a unique and engaging environment. The building spans an entire urban block and its distinctive silhouette features inset terraces, sheltered by the oversailing barrel vault roof. The upper storeys are set back from the building line to maintain good levels of light to the neighbouring buildings and streets. A bespoke inclined cladding system was developed with an integrated framework of solar shading louvres that preserves views out whilst reducing heat gain and improving occupant comfort. The inclined façade includes openable vents so that students can enjoy natural ventilation within the 656-bed student accommodation which features bright, modern interiors and great amenity spaces including two common rooms at roof level offering spectacular views. Eleven floors of light, flexible workspace provide a platform for a range of occupiers. 

Public realm improvements, including a new pedestrian route through the site, the pedestrianisation of Vine Street, and thoughtful landscaping in the surrounding streetscape promote a sense of openness and integration with the broader community. Community impact is further underscored by the generous allocation of shared and public spaces at ground level. The ground floor’s double-height space, featuring a well-lit café and exhibition area, becomes a social hub that encourages interaction and engagement. Whilst the building may appear to meet a current commercial trend it also incorporates inbuilt future flexibility that would allow it to adapt to other future needs, ensuring its relevance and sustainability in the ever-evolving urban landscape.

Judges’ Comments: “The scheme has brought a vacant site back into use, proudly revealing and displaying a piece of London’s hidden heritage and positively impacting the local economy through increased spend from students and office workers.”

Urbanest City
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Photography Credits & Captions

Urbanest-City-01, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Office Entrance Urbanest-City-02, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Public Realm Urbanest-City-03, Credit: Urbanest, Caption: Aerial View Urbanest-City-04, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Exhibition Urbanest-City-05, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Facade Detail Urbanest-City-06, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: From Jewry Street Urbanest-City-07, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Office Reception Urbanest-City-08, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Amenity Space Urbanest-City-09, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Student Reception Urbanest-City-10, Credit: Will Scott, Caption: Student Rooms

Overall Result

Highly Commended

Application Type

Large / Mixed Use Class





Hopkins Architects



Landscape Architect


Main Contractor

Balfour Beatty

Project Manager

Tower 8

Quantity Surveyor


Services Engineer


Structural Engineer

Robert Bird Group

Access Consultant

David Bonnett Associates

Exhibition Designer


Planning Consultant

Gerald Eve



Facade Consultant

Mott MacDonald

Fire Engineering


Acoustic Consultant

Hann Tucker

Transport Consultant


Party Wall Surveyor



Point 2