Basement of Allies & Morrison tower will be converted for workplace use

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Studio RHE has won planning to convert a 1.5-acre underground bunker which is said to have been used by spies into workspace for the creative industries.

The 58,000sq ft scheme will be created beneath Allies & Morrison’s 37-storey Keybridge apartment building near Vauxhall gyratory.

Built on the site of a 15-storey brutalist BT telephone exchange on South Lambeth Road – dubbed forbidding by Pevsner – this is set to be the UK’s tallest residential brick tower when it completes.

It will contain 260 flats designed by Darling Associates. Delivery architect is David Wood Architects.

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There are unconfirmed rumours that the old 1975 Keybridge House – which was itself built on the site of a former fishpaste factory – was once used by spooks who arrived through a secret tunnel. Terry Farrell’s MI6 headquarters is a few hundred yards away.

Developer General Projects appointed Studio RHE to create Storybox in the 5m-high single-storey basement which it describes as an adaptable subterranean environment. It envisages occupiers might use it for pod hotels, labs or gaming experiences.

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Artist Tom Price has been commissioned to deliver a series of embedded sculptures surrounding the project, while there will also be ground-level cafes and installations.

General Projects’ London schemes include the “repositioning” of James Stirling’s No1 Poultry which is now occupied by branches of WeWork and indoor golf operator Puttshack.

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Work is set to start on site immediately and be complete by the summer.