Architects Appointed To Accelerate Delivery Of The First Phase Of Earls Court Masterplan
Following a series of design competitions over the summer, The Earls Court Development Company (ECDC) has today, 28 November 2022, announced the appointment of three teams of architects to deliver innovative, engaging and sustainable architecture for the first phase at the former Earls Court Exhibition Centres site.
The ambitious programme will see a significant portion of the development coming forward in phase one, creating the first east-west public route across site in 150 years through the provision of generous open space and front-loading benefits for the whole community.
This early phase will include up to 1,300 mixed tenure homes including affordable homes which will be delivered alongside a mix of cultural spaces and offices that will provide opportunities for hundreds of jobs. Construction for this first phase is set to commence in 2025.
A total of 15 architectural practices were selected to submit ideas and concepts that deliver on ECDC’s four priorities that underpin the vision ‘to bring the wonder back to Earls Court’, which are:
· Open up the former Exhibition Centre site for the first time in 150 years; Giving back to local communities
· Provide a showground of world-class ingenuity; Celebrating its legacy and history
· Create a better piece of city; A blueprint for future generations
· Address the climate emergency; An ambition to go beyond net-zero
Extensive engagement to date has illustrated the importance of creating a place truly welcoming and accessible for all, leading to a commitment to introduce a people-led and nature-based place. Responding to this ECDC has appointed globally renowned Danish practice SLA (Stig Lennart Anderson) as the landscape architect across the whole development site.
The newly appointed architect and landscape architect teams will work alongside masterplanners Hawkins Brown and Studio Egret West to develop detailed designs for the first phase of the emerging masterplan. Ongoing consultation since 2019 has led up to the development of the draft masterplan,
with the next phase of consultation starting in the new year, targeting submission of planning applications to both LBHF and RBKC in Q4 2023.
The successful architectural firms for the first phase are:
· Sheppard Robson with Serie Architects and dRMM, will deliver the first phase within Hammersmith & Fulham, creating a strong relationship with the neighbouring West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates and the Empress State building.
· ACME will be responsible for a signature office building at the key entrance to the site on Warwick Road in Kensington & Chelsea. It will re-create a sense of arrival from Earl’s Court Station
· Haworth Tompkins and Maccreanor Lavington will collaborate to bring forward the first homes within Kensington & Chelsea, with a significant cultural offer, located in the heart of the site.
Rob Heasman, CEO of The Earls Court Development Company commented on the appointments:
“We have welcomed all of the submissions and are pleased to announce these exceptional designers who will add to our professional team. This is the team who will bring the detailed design, the texture and the colour to the first phase of the reimagined Earls Court. Working with them, we intend to build on everything that is wonderful about the area today and create a new part of our great city. Accelerating the detailed design of this significant tranche of the masterplan will help bring forward a vast array of benefits including new homes, employment opportunities, cultural attractions and beautiful open spaces for all to enjoy.
Notes to Editors
Spanning over circa 40-acres, Earls Court is one of London’s most strategically important development opportunities. The architectural appointments signify the momentum now behind the scheme after years of stalled plans under the previous ownership.
The Earls Court Development Company has a bold and ambitious vision to bring the wonder back to Earls Court, with a masterplan that opens up the site to the local community, celebrates the legacy of world-class ingenuity, creates a better piece of city, and responds to the climate emergency. The draft masterplan design proposals will be shown to the public in the new year. Construction for this first phase is set to commence in 2025.
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About The Earls Court Development Company
The Earls Court Development Company is a new Earls Court-based business, responsible for driving the development of the Earls Court masterplan forward on behalf of Earls Court Partnership Limited. Earls Court Partnership Limited is the joint venture between Delancey (on behalf of its client funds and the Dutch pension fund manager, APG) and Transport for London (TfL). The first decision ECDC took after acquiring the site was to hand back the West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates to Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
What’s happening at Earls Court?
Earls Court is London’s biggest redevelopment opportunity, and there is an opportunity to create something extraordinary on this circa 40-acre site. Ongoing consultation since 2019 has led up to the development of the draft masterplan, due to be unveiled to the public this winter. Earls Court Partnership recently completed the acquisition of the Lillie Bridge Depot and surrounding 15-acre site, unlocking major development at the west London brownfield site.
So far, ECDC has hosted 250+ attendees at 12 design workshops held to date, engaged 1,800+ people in conversations since 2020, reached 600k people through social media, shared regular community newsletters with 36k households, and had 500+ respondents to our surveys.
Ahead of the draft masterplan being shown this winter, ECDC recently re-opened their dedicated consultation space, Conversation Corner. The space has hosted dozens of events for neighbours, community groups, and residents, designed to bring ECDC’s vision for the site to life. The latest consultation materials for Earls Court can be viewed online here.
Since acquiring the site in December 2019, The Earls Court Development Company has invested heavily in cultural and community programmes. This includes our partnership with London Design Festival (the first time LDF has ever come to Earl’s Court) and North End Road Festival, where we exhibited on Saturday 24 September alongside local musicians, street performers, and stallholders. Underbelly Festival has had two successful summers at Earls Court, transforming the site into a free public beach and open-air cinema alongside street food traders, pop-up bars and games for all ages, with over 160,000 people visiting the festival site over two years. Our vibrant pop-up high street on Lillie Road also offers food, drink, and shopping. One unit, called The Pop Up, is a free-to-use retail space, providing a pressure-free environment for new traders.
Our Artist in Residence programme will offer a paid three-month residency for a series of artists to create portraits of – or with – local people as well as run art classes for the local community. Artists have now been selected and the first artist will be in residency in Q1 2023. . We have also worked in partnership with Kensington + Chelsea Festival for two years, profiling the area’s creative spirit through temporary onsite art installations, including 2021’s The Pleasure Garden and this year’s takeover from Azarra Amoy – a 39-metre mural on Warwick Road entitled Stars of Earl’s Court. In November 2022, a temporary immersive theatre opened in the former Mannequin Factory in West Kensington. The theatre, operated by The Lost Estate, tells history’s greatest stories, with free tickets available for the community, as well as co-working space in the theatre for local creatives.
Our community fund of £180,000 is distributed amongst local charities annually, and we announced the selected charities for the 2022 fund earlier this year. 2021’s fund helped around 11,000 people, with many more set to benefit this year too. In June 2022, we opened a new Community Hub in West Kensington, a flexible space run by and for residents – hosting a range of mostly free activities and classes every week for local people.
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