Chelsfield Partners LLP and London & Regional Properties is developing Elizabeth House, a key site in the Waterloo area of central London. As a strategic London centre, Waterloo benefits from world class cultural, tourist and transport attractors and has high levels of pedestrian movement and high vehicular accessibility. However, the area is also heavily constrained by a poor public realm, which results in a poor ‘doorstep’ to the various destinations in the surrounding area.
Space Syntax was appointed to join the masterplanning team for Elizabeth House. Our contribution was in two stages.
Phase One was to produce a Public Realm Baseline Study for the wider setting of the site identified by the London Plan as the Waterloo Opportunity Area. The study was informed by an evidence-based analysis of the form and function of the area in order to produce a robust spatial strategy. The study also benefited from the input of local stakeholders through workshops and regular meetings.
The emerging strategy for WOA was aimed at developing a staged development process where projects are developed individually without prejudicing the long-term joined-up strategic vision for the future development of the public realm in the Waterloo area. The Public Ream Baseline Study was used as a briefing document for the invited completion to appoint a lead architect for the Elizabeth House site.
During Phase Two, Space Syntax worked with David Chipperfield Architects, landscape designers West 8 and Jacobs transport engineers to develop and evaluate design proposals for the public realm of Elizabeth House.
The emerging design public realm design of Elizabeth House has been based on an in-depth understanding of the key pedestrian desire lines and public space potentials in the area. The evidence-based information developed by Space Syntax has been instrumental in two key ways:
– first, working with the design team, it has been used as a design tool to inform and test emerging masterplan proposals
– second, it has allowed the team to clearly present and explain their design rationale to the wider stakeholder group, including the London Borough of Lambeth and TfL. In doing so, it has helped inform discussions and resolve often conflicting opinions concerning the impact of the proposed development.