Recognising the climate emergency

In response to the climate emergency, the project team have a duty to optimise the potential of this extremely scarce resource by identifying and progressing the most appropriate sustainable development solution for the long term future of this neglected pocket behind Oxford Street

Exploring the options

Detailed development optioneering was undertaken and consulted upon during last year’s pre-application stage. Initial appraisals were undertaken on 5 scenarios from May 2022 – August 2022 with further detailed analysis of 3 of the 5 scenarios (1,3 and 4) from September 2022 – January 2023:

1. General refurbishment
2. Major refurbishment with extensions
3. Major refurbishment with extensions and lowered ground floor
4. New build reclaim recycle
5. Aspirational new build options.

The project team’s first approach is always to seek to re-use the existing buildings on the site. In this case, analysis concluded that (per sqm), the levels of embodied carbon for a part refurbish and part new build (639 kgco2/sqm) were comparable to a complete new building (705 kgco2/sqm).

When the 60-year lifespan, and operational efficiency of the proposed new building was taken into account, an ambitiously designed new build scheme resulted in a lower carbon outcome (1242 kgco2/sqm) when compared to a retrofit and extension scheme (1307 kgco2/sqm).

This optioneering analysis concluded that, in this instance, rather than a retrofit of the existing buildings, a new build, reclaim and recycle scheme is the most sustainable solution for this site and is capable of delivering:

• High quality office and commercial space
• Exemplary architecture
• Low carbon in development with a significant recycled content
• Very low energy in operation, meeting with UKGBC net zero targets and BREEAM Outstanding, WELL platinum and a NABERS accreditation standard,
• Designed for longevity and future flexibility
• Delivering a circular development into the Westminster economy
• All Greater London Authority (GLA) and Westminster City Council’s (WCC) sustainability requirements.

The proposed 8,583 sq m eleven storey building will be a highly sustainable, exemplar office building to meet the area’s future commercial needs, as identified in Westminster’s City Development Plan. This all-electric building includes efficient mechanical systems, extensive urban greening, and 110 cycle parking spaces with exemplar end of journey facilities.M