West London tower to enhance the emerging skyline and create a new public realm
In a pivotal location at the heart of Southall next to a planned Crossrail station, we proposed a sculptural mixed-use tower that anchors a wider development area. As well as providing active frontage with a café, workspace and 67 new homes above, our proposals consider both how to improve the surrounding intersection with inclusive public realm and how a tower would enhance the emerging skyline. Integrated corner balconies, doubling as winter gardens, are an integral element of this project. They allow ventilation while mitigating noise from below.
Southall is a vibrant part of West London, with one of the largest Sikh gurdwaras outside of India. Whilst predominantly suburban and low-rise in character, the council’s plans for Southall Gateway, an ambitious housing-led quarter, will dramatically transform the urban landscape on either side of a railway viaduct that has always defined the area’s economic growth.
Bound on three sides by the railway and two main roads, all at angles to one another, a core design objective has been to create a logical construction that makes optimal use of the site to present elegant façades and silhouettes on all sides. The existing geometry generates a pentagonal plan. By sculpting its base and top, the tower appears unique from every angle, with a dynamic form that shifts with the viewer.
Proposals were informed by extensive consultation during design development with the council and local residents. The Greater London Authority expressed support for the scheme following their review as part of the planning process.
Challenged with creating a high-quality living environment in the midst of noisy road and rail infrastructure, windows have acoustically attenuated shutters and all apartments benefit from views in at least two directions. In addition to the winter garden balconies, generous communal external spaces for residents of all ages are provided as part of the public realm at ground-level, where the building sets back mid-level, and as a spectacular panoramic roof terrace.
A unitised façade made from prefabricated panels optimises the construction process by reducing time on site and allows for mass-customisation with a variety of decorative treatments. The panels set a regular rhythm for consistency across elevations in order not to privilege any one orientation. Tested using physical and 3D models, their subtle variations and folded forms create a play of shadows that further animates the building.
Gort Scott created a cohesive team that were confident and open to alternatives, present solutions to technical issues and challenge where necessary. The practice were a pleasure to work alongside.Ian Dubber, Head of Planning at Workspace
- Southall, London
- Project type
- Homes and mixed-use
- Phase 1 completed, 2015
- Floor area
- Gort Scott Team
- Alan Worn, Andrew Tam, Joe Crawford
- Jackson Coles (QS), Momentum (structures), Skelly and Couch (building services), JCLA (landscape), The Fire Surgery (fire), Caneparo Associates (transport), Picture Plane (visualiser)
- Photographer (Model)
- David Grandorge