Third-sector office plans would replace 1930s industrial building with double-sized block

Proposals designed by Foundation Architecture to demolish the Southwark headquarters of a charity and replace it with a stylistically similar double-sized block are set to be approved by planners.

The practice’s Loman Street designs would deliver a seven-storey building for the Helen Taylor Thompson Foundation which operates as social economy charity CAN Mezzanine. A stone’s throw from Will Alsop’s colourful cantilevered Palestra building, it would contain 4,675sq m of new office space.

CAN’s current headquarters – which is based in a four-storey light industrial building dating back to the 1930s – has 2,361sq m of office space for use as flexible collaborative workspace aimed at other charity groups.

A report for a meeting of Southwark council’s planning committee scheduled to take place on Tuesday said the existing building had “various deficiencies for users” including poor disabled access, a lift too small for wheelchair access, a core that cannot be modified and ageing plant.

Loman Street by Foundation Architecture

Loman Street by Foundation Architecture

Foundation’s proposals for the new building include curved corners similar to the existing structure’s up to the fifth floor, with a set back metal-and-glass sixth floor.

Planning officers said that, while the main brick building was higher than its immediate context, it would be in a neighbourhood designated as an opportunity area where intensification was expected, and in which the nearby Blackfriars Crown Court building was a “bulky and somewhat relentless” presence.

“Overall, the design will create a credible warehouse feel that complements the townscape of the area. It is therefore acceptable,” they said.

Loman Street in Southwark

Source: Google Maps

Loman Street in Southwark as it currently looks

“Bay studies within the design-and-access statement indicate that the building façades will have sufficient depth to create the deep reveals and modelling that will be essential for a convincing façade.”

Southwark’s planning committee meets at 6.30pm on December 3 to consider the proposals.

Aerial View of Loman Street in Southwark

Source: Google Maps

Aerial view of Loman Street in Southwark