Scheme aims to revive Old Street’s flagging “Silicon Roundabout” tech cluster
KPF’s proposals for a 36-storey tower on Islington’s Old Street roundabout on the City fringe have been given a public airing.
Due to be submitted for planning early in the new year, the 160m tall office block at 99 City Road is being envisaged as a regeneration scheme aiming to jumpstart the area’s flagging tech cluster, known as “Silicon Roundabout”.
Designed for Endurance Land, the building would contain nearly 500,000sq ft of office space, 5,500sq ft of community space and 6,000sq ft of public realm. A consultation on the plans is currently live and runs until 3 January.
The scheme would see the partial demolition and refurbishment of the Shoreditch site’s existing building, an office occupied by satellite telecommunications firm Inmarsat, and the construction of a new tower above.
Also on the project team is planning consultant DP9 and public realm consultant Publica.
The “Silicon Roundabout”, named in reference to California’s Silicon Valley, was heavily promoted by former prime minister David Cameron in the years following the 2008 financial crisis as a centre of British tech innovation.
But a number of high-profile firms have left the area in recent years to set up bases in other parts of the capital, including Google, which closed its seven-storey Campus startup hub last year.
Inmarsat, whose 99 City Road office has been a longstanding landmark on the roundabout, is expected to vacate its current premises in the coming years.
A tall building study carried out by Islington council in 2018 argued the site should become the “focal point” of the tech cluster and said any tall building would need to be of “outstanding architecture” that adds a “distinctiveness” to the area.
KPF says its plans would see a 280% increase in public realm compared to the current site, along with a new urban roof garden and 900 cycle parking spaces.
It would also include a 3,000sq ft triple height space on the ground floor, dubbed the “great room”, which would be open to the street during the summer months and would host cultural events.
The practice is working on a number of major office projects in London, including a 23-storey life sciences tower in Canary Wharf which was submitted for planning earlier this month.
Its plans for another life sciences scheme, a 20-storey tower in Southwark, were approved in June this year by London mayor Sadiq Khan two years after being rejected by the local council.