199 Southwark Bridge

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Client: Lee / Fitzgerald Architects
Location: 199 Southwark Bridge Road, London
Completion: December 2010

199 Southwark Bridge Road is presented as model for future ecological development. Currently it is predicted that 80% of existing building stock will still be in use in 100 years time. A large portion of this stock is profl igate in energy usage.

The re-use of existing building stock is therefore central to any national ecological strategy. Any model for upgrading existing building stock has to be affordable and must deal with ugly/unfit for purpose buildings as well as beautiful ones. Embodied energy within building fabric makes up 40% of overall usage given a 60 year life cycle … therefore one should always look to re-use before considering demolition.

199 is a model because, it demonstrates how a profligate unattractive office building can be upgraded and rebranded using an economically viable model. Change of use to residential on the 1st and 2nd floors created an uplift in value. The existing building was overclad and windows were upgraded. Two additional floors were constructed to aid finance the rebranding. The resultant building is low tech (though it does use solar vacuum tubes for hot water), makes optimum use of thermal mass and glazing, is super insulated and uses highly efficient modern systems. As such it is simple, affordable and effective performing well above current building regulation norms.

The extension coupled to the over-cladding of the existing structure has resulted in an architectural expression that is contemporary, exciting and importantly highly marketable. It constitutes a blue-print that could be used to upgrade and bring back into use many more such buildings across the country.