Pimlico block favoured by MPs remains UK’s biggest private development

Eric Parry has been appointed by the owners of Dolphin Square in Pimlico to refurbish and extend the famous 1930s mansion block favoured by celebrities and MPs.

The architect is proposing to add a 10th storey to the perimeter blocks and a row of 16 mews houses along the western edge of the Thames-side development.

Dolphin Square is the UK’s largest private block of flats and home to more than 2,500 people.

Rodney House, the block furthest from the river, would be rebuilt in brick and stone to create a “more impressive” entrance, increase the number of flats, put leisure facilities in the basement and add shop units along Chichester Street.

Images of Parry’s designs, revealed as part of the consultation process, show a series of new rounded arches through the ground floor of Rodney House, creating a grander rear entrance and echoing the well-known riverfront elevation.

At the same time the entire 7.5ha estate will be refurbished – including modernising all 7,000 windows – and some of the largest flats will be reconfigured to increase the number of smaller flats.

The consultation document says the extra flats will pay for the refurbishment work and that overall they will be creating 240 “financially accessible homes for working Londoners”.

A planning application is due to be submitted any day. If consent it granted by Westminster council work is expected to start in 2020 and take five years.

Landscape architect Todd Longstaffe-Gowan has been appointed to expand the 3.5ha gardens and make them more accessible to people with disabilities. His proposals include building a classical-style temple and planting an avenue of lime trees.

Dolphin Square, long popular with MPs and peers because of its proximity to Parliament, has also been home over the years to Princess Margaret, Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, Oswald Mosely and the Soviet spy John Vassall. Its blocks are named after naval heroes such as Drake and Raleigh.

Westbrook, which bought the block a decade ago, said it picked Parry because of the practice’s “considered, artistic approach to creating beautiful buildings in sensitive historic environments”. It singles out as examples the restoration of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square and the extension to Bath’s Holburne Museum of Art.

Historic picture Dolphin Square

Historic picture of Dolphin Square