Hackney council approves 20-storey block after design tweaks

Hackney council has voted to approve AHMM’s plans for a £200m office block on the City fringe following tweaks to the design spurred by objections from locals.

The 20-storey Edge Shoreditch building at 4 Christopher Street has been drawn up for British Library extension developer Mitsui Fudosan and Dutch developer Edge.

It will see the demolition of two existing six-storey buildings on the 4,400sq m site including the 1962 Technico House and the construction of a large stepped block with two basement levels and an atrium at its centre.

The plans replace an earlier 2021 consent for proposals designed by Make for the London Stock Exchange, the site’s former owners.

While the new scheme received no formal objections from its statutory consultees, which include Historic England and Transport for London, 13 objections from locals were sent in and it was criticised by local campaign group the Hackney Society for its design.

The group said AHMM’s choice of a 1930s warehouse style had come off as a “little bland and oddly retro in character” and questioned the sustainability impact of demolishing the existing buildings.

The advisory committee for the neighbouring Shoreditch conservation area also objected to the plans, describing them as “gross, overscale and without any genuine architectural skill or merit”.

> Also read: AHMM submits fresh plan for 27-storey City fringe tower

The scheme was evaluated by Hackney’s design review panel after submission and revised to retain a historic facade at the south-west corner of the site and to reduce the massing on one corner.

The council’s planning officers recommended the application for approval ahead of yesterday evening’s planning committee meeting, concluding the scheme provided a high standard of office accommodation and complied with local planning policies.

Modern methods of construction and significant off-site manufacturing will be employed during construction, with the majority of the building’s super structure, frame and facades to be modularised, according to a construction management plan for the scheme drawn up by Laing O’Rourke.

Make Shoreditch 1

Make’s consented proposals for the site, which will be replaced by AHMM’s new plans

Low carbon concrete will also be used with the possible combination of CLT and other prefabricated materials to reduce carbon, the firm added.

Also on the project team is project manager Gardiner & Theobald, structural engineer AKT II, MEP engineer Atelier Ten, planning consultant DP9, landscape architect MRG Studio and vertical transportation consultant Sweco. Start on site is scheduled for the first quarter of 2025 with completion slated for 2028.

The scheme would be Amsterdam-based Edge’s second London project after the 27-storey Edge London Bridge tower next to the Shard, which has been designed by Pilbrow & Partners and approved in 2021. This is being built by Mace.

Mitsui Fudosan projects in the capital include the £400m extension to the British Library, approved in January, and the £500m redevelopment of the former BBC Television Centre, both of which it is developing in joint venture with Stanhope.

Last week, AHMM submitted an application for another City fringe office scheme replacing earlier plans by a different architect.

The 27-storey One Fairchild Street scheme just north of Liverpool Street station would replace an earlier set of proposals for a 30-storey tower designed by Gensler.