Recognising the exceptional – Chiltern Place
Shortlisted in the Residential Category of the RICS Awards 2018, Chiltern Place is a newly completed scheme situated in one of the borough’s most distinguished quarters, characterised by a variety of historic buildings and a vibrant public realm. The initial proposal developed in consultation with local neighbours, was approved by Westminster’s planning committee in 2012 with a commendation for the quality of its design.
Permission was granted to refurbish an undistinguished 1960s office building on the site and add three additional floors in order to shape the building’s profile on the skyline. Further studies concluded that modifying the original structure would create various limitations. There were minor discrepancies in the floor to floor height and retaining the basement structure would only offer limited parking.
Consequently, a new build approach was identified that offered significant improvements to the refurbishment method, including enhanced environmental performance, a 25% reduction in carbon emissions and an additional basement level incorporating cycle and car parking spaces. The changes were achieved with no alterations to the external massing or appearance of the consented building, allowing the quality of design and its response to the context of conservation areas to remain the same.
The design and material selection for Chiltern Place reflect upon careful study of distinctive buildings in the immediate vicinity. Utilising various periods and styles, the building acknowledges and conforms to the high standards and execution to detail.
It was important the design expanded on the established character of Marylebone to deliver a building whose material, proportion and finesse complements the surrounding architecture and context.
Clad in individual hand set terracotta tiles, the building reflects an artisanal heritage, offering a warm colour palette that resonates with neighbouring buildings, as well as offering durability that is easy to maintain. Informed by local precedent, a series of bay windows carefully integrate into the building massing, adding verticality, richness and articulation to its external form.
Internally the bays provide generous amenity space and create a buffer between internal and external elements. Maximising natural light and views, the apartments range from one to four bedrooms, with ceiling heights of 2.75m and floor-to-ceiling glazing. The building creates a diverse mix of unit sizes, designed to provide high quality internal residential accommodation which meet or exceed current code requirements for accessibility and sustainability with apartments meeting the Lifetime Home Standards.
In addition to the main building, a three-bed town house was constructed against a previously flank wall to the south of the site which completes the adjacent St Andrew’s Mansions building as well as enhancing the quality of views along Chiltern Street. By positively embracing the streetscape, the ground floor plane is opened up allowing public access at the corner of Chiltern and Paddington Street where planted trees, cycle stands, and public seating are all easily accessible.
Within the northwest corner, ground floor retail space occupies a prominent location enhancing public space that activates the building frontage to Chiltern Street. The building incorporates sustainable design, construction and operation through a low energy strategy, thermally-efficient envelope and photovoltaic roof panels. The building also benefits from detailed coordination of the structure and building services and integration of a UKPN substation.
Mark Kelly of PLP Architecture said: “Chiltern Place has been designed to deliver and attractive, open and user friendly environment. The design and materials used reflect upon careful study of distinctive buildings in the immediate vicinity.”