World-leading sustainable office development above Southwark station

18 March 2021
  • Project set to be one of the greenest and healthiest large-scale commercial buildings in the UK, and once built will provide office space for a range of businesses as part of the city's green recovery
  • World-leading development will use excess heat directly from the Tube network to help reduce energy consumption, and has been designed to achieve BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum - only the second building in the UK to do so
  • Plans make improvements for the local community with extensive greenery, widened pavements and cycle space

Transport for London (TfL) has been given the go-ahead by Southwark Council to build what is set to be one of the most sustainable large-scale office developments in the United Kingdom above Southwark Tube station.

The seventeen-storey hybrid timber building, which has been designed by renowned architects, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, forms part of TfL's commercial development programme. It will be rented out on a commercial basis, helping TfL to create sustainable and long term revenue that can be reinvested into the transport network. Positioned above Southwark Tube station, the scheme will retain the much-loved station entrance, ticket hall, and lightwells down to the Jubilee line platforms while paying homage to TfL's legacy of innovative and iconic design.

The scheme will create a new landmark for the area, providing around 26,500 sqm of commercial office space alongside more than 230 sqm of retail space on the ground floor. The development, which is anticipated to be completed in the mid-2020s, will offer a central London base to a range of businesses and industries that are looking to be part of London's green recovery. From well established companies to start-ups, the building will offer future tenants a space that has their employees' wellbeing in mind. It will also incorporate more than 2,650 sqm of affordable workspace, which could be used by small and local businesses that contribute to the local economy at a discount to the market. 

The development has been designed to showcase best practice in sustainable design and development. Designed to achieve both BREEAM Outstanding and WELL Platinum certifications, a feat achieved by only one building in the UK to date, the scheme will stand among the most sustainable office buildings in the world. It will also achieve net zero carbon in line with United Kingdom Green Building Council and London Energy Transformation Initiative definitions* through a number of outstanding environmental features. 

At 75m tall with a cross laminated timber design, the over station development at Southwark would become one of the tallest hybrid timber towers in the UK, allowing it to also achieve industry-leading embodied carbon reductions of 40 per cent, compared to LETI's business-as-usual benchmark. The building will be the first designed globally to directly extract waste heat from the Tube station below to help heat it and minimise its energy consumption. Alongside next-generation air source heat pumps, solar panels and high-performance building materials, the development will achieve a 44 per cent reduction in operational carbon emissions. Combined with green power purchasing agreements and carbon offsets, the building will achieve net zero at practical completion and enable its tenants to reduce their environmental footprint.

The design of the development makes use of natural ventilation, light-filled spaces and green terraces to support the health and wellbeing of future occupiers, along with a shared garden for the building's tenants and neighbouring residents. With new trees and plants along Isabella Street, the scheme's design will also improve local air quality for the community.

Scott Anderson, Head of Property Development at TfL, said:

'It is fantastic that we have been given the go-ahead for our office and retail development above Southwark Tube. This world-class development will create a new landmark for this part of London whilst providing vital revenue to support public transport across London.

'Sustainability has been a core focus during the development process, alongside meaningful community engagement, to make sure that we build something that will make a long-term, beneficial difference as the city and businesses embark upon a green recovery. Down to the construction materials used for the building and the placement of colours, the development's features have been chosen to reflect and complement the local area and make it something TfL, Southwark and the local community can be proud of.'

Paul Monaghan, Founding Director at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, said:

'We are delighted that the proposal has received planning approval. This project will see the creation of new office and retail spaces - including affordable workspace - and bring new opportunities to the local area. The building includes a range of low carbon innovations and aims to achieve the highest environmental standards. We look forward to working with TfL on the next stage of the project.'

The development's location will also encourage new occupants to use public transport. As well as being located above Southwark Tube station, the site is also close to three major London rail stations - Waterloo, Blackfriars and London Bridge - as well as numerous bus routes. Cycleway 6 links Elephant and Castle to King's Cross and there are a number of Santander Cycles docking stations available close by to the Tube station.

The pavement along The Cut will also be widened on the approach to Southwark station to provide more space, making it easier for to access existing local businesses, as well as provide a new dedicated space for cyclists on the approach to Blackfriars Road.

Notes to editors