Thursday, 3 February 2011

Vauxhall Square - CLS propose a new twin tower development in Vauxhall

(Image taken from the excellent article about Vauxhall Square, which you can read over here)

CLS have this morning revealed their intention to advance an 850,000 square foot development on a 2.9 acre site in Vauxhall.  They have an informative website which enables you to comment on the current Vauxhall pedestrian experience and you can see additional images of the proposed site.  The scheme would comprise two "twin towers" (both exceeding 40 storeys) and a huge public square.  Included within the proposal is some form of giant walkway, which would allow pedestrians to cross the Vauxhall gyratory. The grand plan includes 240 units of student accommodation, a 300 bed hotel, 400 apartments, 80,000 square feet of retail space/restaurants and a 6 screen cinema.  This development has been named Vauxhall Square and is intended as a gateway into the new Nine Elms and Battersea area.

A public exhibition for the Vauxhall Square development will take place next weekend(!) on Friday 11th February (10:30 - 20:00) and 12th February (10:00 - 14:00) in the neighbouring Market Towers building (1 Nine Elms Lane), and a planning application is expected to be submitted in late 2011.  The building is hoped to be completed by 2017 (all very ambitious, considering the planning application has yet to be submitted).  VoHo (ha!) residents will be delighted to note that CLS's MD, Richard Tice, is expecting the development to "establish the area as the next major London growth zone".  (Clearly nobody has thought to mention the massive over-crowding at Vauxhall tube station, so we'll stay really quiet, ok).  On a more positive note, a Property Week article about Vauxhall Square states that CLS have "launched an international design competition" to "link the different streets and sites across Vauxhall Cross".  That's clearly a highly desirable goal to prevent Vauxhall descending into a set of major wind tunnels.

The development appears to involve the demolition of a building currently on the site and I've marked its approximate position on the map below.  Vauxhall Square is marked in blue and I've added Vauxhall Island site (in green) to show context:

This proposal should not be confused with the other four Vauxhall schemes; Vauxhall Island site (submitted, awaiting approval), Bondway Vauxhall (pending enquiry result), Vauxhall Sky Gardens (approved) and Vauxhall Tower (approved),

CLS are the firm responsible for purchasing 100 Tyers St from Vauxhall Gardens Community Centre and relocating it, a positive development for the Community Centre.

And finally, a quick "hello" to all of the traders who will likely drop in this morning to check whether CLS stocks have increased in value.  [Edit 13th February... they did!  By a considerable amount and probably will some more tomorrow.]  I'm sure those shares will now be uber valuable, and so would encourage you to continue to invest in the UK property market, which is likely to be close to the bottom at present.


Anonymous said...

This sounds exciting. It would be great to have shops, cinemas, in the area and it seems to have a bit of humanity about it. Novel idea, I like it and hope it goes through.

Mark said...

Elevated walkways? Really? Haven't we already decided that the elevated walkways of the 60s weren't all that great?

I admire the 'blue sky' thinking, but the whole thing seems a bit daft and looking at the drawings either requires the demolition of the bus station or an assumption that the Kylun Towers won't happen.

I've been to a similar linear / elevated park in Nice and it's more or less abandoned by locals (who prefer to walk along the road) and left semi-derelict to kids who want somewhere to hang out and smoke.

Mark said...

Other question - what will happen to the homeless shelter currently on the corner of Parrty St. and Bondway?

Anonymous said...

For a new elevated walkway that works, look at New York's Hi-Line. It's an old railway track, maybe 40 feet wide and 20 feet above ground that runs from around 12th Street northwards for - ultimately - about 20 blocks. It has been beautifully converted into a pedestrian breathing space with trees and grasses and seats. (A cycle path would be great, but access is by stair and lift, so difficult.) Incredibly popular and useful too. It would be terrific to have Marks Barfield involved - they're from Stockwell, they designed the Eye, what's not to love?

Mark said...

I've been chatting about it with some friends in NYC with one saying that they "love" the High Line, and the other saying that it's "awesome" - so pretty good feedback.

Although as one of them pointed out to me: "Most of High Line is in Chelsea and Meat Packing - not areas that suffer too much ASB any more. Vauxhall, on the other hand...."

The High Line does look beautiful - and it's a similar length to what's being proposed at Vauxhall (700m vs 600m). The more I think about it, the more I quite like the idea of roof gardens atop the bus station.

However the High Line closes at night and has security patrols during the day, presumably to keep a lid on any possible trouble. (link)

I guess I remain to be be convinced that the Vauxhall scheme will not end up being an ASB hotspot, but if similar management policies are in place (security, night time closures) then I guess I could see it working...

Sid Boggle said...

Doesn't the bus station use a PV array on the roof to generate its own power? Any garden or network of walkways would have to be developed around this I would think...

Anonymous said...

It's not entirely clear from this whether the flats along Wandsworth Road (101-111) would be demolished or not (although your map suggests not). They are all Grade 2 listed buildings, so it would be a shame to see them go. Vauxhall's in danger of becoming a glass metropolis with one token "old" building - Brunswick House - to remind it of its past.

Anonymous said...

awful idea. there is already a walkway accross from metropolis to the station. does any one like or use it.

walkways ae 1960s bad planning...just look at the underpasses at elephant.

it would be ugly no matter what. also, this is london not new york.

less built environment, more pavements and calming.....say I!

Anonymous said...

I am an urban designer and agree that having more new green space would be wonderful in Vauxhall along with improvements to local parks. However, I’ve been working in Vauxhall for a long time, and using Vauxhall as my local tube station for over 20 years...and I saw the failure of the high level walkways they removed in the past! So this personal experience, coupled with having been to the Highline and the Promenade Plantée on research trips leaves me doubtful. Neither of these precedents are commuter routes but are quiet relaxing, amenity spaces where one can promenade from place to place, and both have proportionally far more greenery than the images on the CLS website. And neither of them are suspended above the fume-ridden traffic gyratory.
Getting pedestrians up and down is never easy, as people always avoid having to walk upstairs because the ground is where the people chose to be...people simply wont use it, and cars and cyclists will be segregated and the problems will remain, but in the future beneath this proposed new, redundant infrastructure. If you look at the public spaces of NYC they specifically legislate against high level routes and public spaces due to the failures of the 1960/70s. Any public space more than over 5' above ground level tends to be perceived as exclusive and inaccessible. The highline is a very exclusive, highly controlled environemnt whihc closes at night, has teams of gardeners managing the planting and is more like a private London square than the linear walkway as proposed in Vauxhall. Perhaps solving the problem of Vauxhall's segregated traffic is a more pressing ambition that all the stakeholders should solve together. They've managed it at Oxford Circus, Trafalgar square and countless other previously traffic plagued areas of the city.

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