Foster + Partners has revealed the design for a new mixed-use development in the northern end of the central London high street. The building is located on Queensway, opposite the Whitley, the famous department store, which is also being transformed by Foster + Partners as part of a larger redevelopment scheme. Named The William, after William Whiteley, the eponymous founder of the famous Whiteleys, the project includes six floors of office space, shops, and 32 new homes, 11 of which will be affordable.
Built from cross-laminated timber, a sustainable construction method, The William’s design is inspired by its environment while keeping with Queensway’s current regreening program, which will see large-scale planting added throughout London’s high street. This represents Foster + Partners’ first timber office building in the UK. The project is part of a large redevelopment of Queensway that aims to improve and build on the high street’s offering as a shopping, dining, working, and travel destination. The planning permission was secured by pan-European real estate investment manager MARK in partnership with Finchatton and General Projects.
The structure is replacing a post-war building that was in poor condition. The new development features a series of well-connected natural light-filled spaces and services that aim to provide an enjoyable working environment for its future users. The double-height lobby features natural materials and a biophilic design, in keeping with the sustainable approach of the project. Bio-diverse terraces and rooftop gardens complete the amenities offered by the development while offering views across London and down to Hyde Park.
The William is designed to achieve BREEAM Outstanding certification. For this, natural and responsibly-sourced materials were used. The cross laminated timber used for the structure of the building is a low-impact material with a much lower embodied carbon footprint compared to a traditional steel and concrete structure. Additionally, the building is also planned to have operationally zero-carbon emissions upon completion.
Foster + Partners is a global architecture office founded in 1967 by Lord Norman Foster. Recently they have completed 425 Park Avenue in New York, a 47-storey tower built to LEED Gold standard, and the DJI Sky City in Shenzhen, China, an innovation hub and headquarters to a lead producer of civil drones and creative camera technology.