White Lion House, Centre Point

  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © Andy Stagg
  • © MICA Architects
  • © MICA Architects

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Camden

Information about this scheme

Meeting the challenges and quality requirements of developer- led housing and the aspirations of the local authority, White Lion House is the key which unlocked the Centre Point site, allowing the remarkable transformation of the adjacent listed buildings and creation of extensive new public realm. The building’s façades make sense of the site’s historic geometries with, its form sculpted to offer precise massing in response to views within the conservation area. Facing both the exuberant modernism of Centre Point tower and the Palladian spire of St-Giles-in-the-Fields, the building negotiates the site’s complex history. A communal staircase rises at the end of Denmark Street, enclosed within a frameless glass wall and capped with a glass roof, flanked on two sides with a decorative and detailed facade of embossed white precast concrete, enclosing private balconies. The building negotiates various civic functions, acting as both a gateway to the new St Giles Square and defining a new public space facing the church. Reinforcing the view towards Charing Cross Road, the south-western flank of the building reinforces the line of the historic St Giles High Street, lost in the modernist planning of the 60s complex. The appearance of the building from the church is tall and narrow, concealing its density and establishing a visual dialogue with the tower and spire. The new building encloses a space between it and the spire, and a three-storey glazed facade at the base establishes a civic scale to the public realm. Echoing the structural gymnastics of the original 1960s complex, the concrete frame of White Lion House is formed of a complex series of cantilevers over existing constraints. Collaborating with the original engineers Pell Frischmann, the building’s form was tuned to step lightly around the eastbound Crossrail tunnels and allow the continued operation of an existing substation during construction. The façade, built in concrete precast units recalls the graphic appearance of Centre Point tower, embossed with a pattern developed in collaboration with London-based textilepattern designers Eley Kishimoto. The building is a complex and efficient single-core arrangement with interlocking units providing remarkable urban homes. Large balconies accessed from double height living spaces form a series of private outdoor rooms. Dramatic one bed apartments with glass walls open onto balconies looking west over the new St Giles Square and to Soho and beyond. White Lion House is a contextual, contemporary urban housing scheme, proving that affordable housing can be delivered on the most complex urban sites.

Credits

Architect

MICA Architects

Client

Almacantar

Project Manager

WT Partnership

Structural Engineer

Pell Frischmann

M&E Engineers

Sweco.

Façade Engineering

Eckersley O’Callaghan

CDMC

Lend Lease Consulting

Main Contractor

Multiplex

Lighting Design

Speirs + Major

Transport Consultant

Steer Davies Gleave

Acoustic Consultant

Sandy Brown

Planning Consultant

Gerald Eve

Other

Eley Kishimoto (Pattern Designer)

Primary Use Class

Class C3 - Dwelling Houses