Vauxhall towers replace ditched Squires scheme

Zaha Hadid Architects' Vauxhall Cross proposals

High-level view of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Vauxhall Cross proposals

Zaha Hadid Architects has won planning for two huge towers on the Vauxhall gyratory in south London.

The project, which features two buildings of 53 and 42 storeys connected by a 10-storey podium, will require the demolition of Arup’s “ski jump” bus station as part of a land swap.

It will be built between what is currently Wandsworth Road, Parry Street, Bondway and Vauxhall Bus Station – in the middle of the Vauxhall Gyratory, which is due to be redesigned.

Vauxhall Cross by Zaha Hadid Architects

View of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Vauxhall Cross proposals, looking towards the north-east. One of Allies & Morisson’s Vauxhall Square blocks is in the foreground.

The site previously had permission for two shorter towers by Squire & Partners, of 41 and 32 storeys. 

>> Also read: Zaha Hadid’s Vauxhall towers split opinion


The ZHA proposal would see a 618-room hotel built in the taller, southern, tower and 257 homes in its neighbour, along with 20,000sq m of office space in the podium and a small amount of retail.

It would also create a new public space next to the transport interchange, said a ZHA spokesman.

Vauxhall Cross by Zaha Hadid Architects

Aerial view to the west of Zaha Hadid Architects’ Vauxhall Cross proposals

Opponents have dubbed it the “two-fingered salute”. They object to the height and the loss of the bus station.

KPF’s 56-storey One Nine Elms project, which is under construction nearby, will be slightly taller than the higher ZHA tower.

In their report to the planning committee, officers rejected concerns about the setting of the Westminster World Heritage Site. They also said: “The height of the taller tower is 185m high and exceeds the 150m height limit set out in the local plan for this site. The development is therefore a departure from the development plan and this conflict must be balanced against the planning benefits of the scheme.

“These benefits are a high-quality design that integrates well with the cluster of tall buildings in Vauxhall (particularly compared to the earlier consented scheme on this site); enabling the delivery of the Vauxhall gyratory removal works and new town centre; new homes including intermediate homes and a substantial contribution to off-site affordable housing; new employment space, hotel and retail uses and a new public square.

“Officers support the proposed design and consider the departure that these planning benefitsare material considerationswhich sufficiently in favour of the development to justify the departure.”

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Lambeth’s cabinet member for planning, said it was an important decision paving the way for new homes and a new town centre.

There would be 23 London Living Rent flats on-site, with £30m provided by the developer, VCI Property Holding, for “affordable” rented homes off-site, which he said would mean the project contained the equivalent of 30% “affordable” housing.

Bennett added: “The site which gained planning permission is known locally as the ‘Vauxhall Island Site’ and is currently unused and can’t be accessed by residents, despite being next to a Zone 1 tube station, just metres from the Thames and within walking distance of Westminster.”

Zaha Hadid Architects' Vauxhall Cross proposals

Zaha Hadid Architects’ Vauxhall Cross proposals