The redevelopment of one of Wandsworth’s key regeneration prospects has been phased. It began with a design competition to refurbish the 14-storey ICL insurance tower. This was won in 2001 by Patel Taylor architects with its proposal to strip the building back to its concrete frame, add three storeys and extend the floor plate with the prow-like river frontage. The rest of the site was 50,000 square feet of derelict land, mostly dilapidated warehouses from a defunct brewery. Due to their track record in community consultation and mixed-use planning, St George appointed John Thompson and Partners to consult with the local community and council.
Local business interests wanted to see more of Putney High Street’s traffic directed down Putney Bridge Road, which leads to the mixed use Castle Court block at the southern edge to the perimeter. Residents in Deodar Road were concerned about the loss of the area’s character. This led to John Thompson and Partners designing a low frontage to Deodar Road. This consists of five three-storey Victorian townhouses and a white-rendered Edwardian house which is the office of a local health organisation. These form the gateposts to a covered pedestrian route beneath one of the Brewhouse blocks which emerges close to the piazza.
The Putney Wharf development faced four external influences: the architecture of St Mary’s Church and Putney Bridge, the badly detailed modernist approach of Putney police station, the Victorian / Edwardian style of Deodar Road, and the expectation of height to maximise the river frontage. However, the decision was taken for the scheme to step back from the river, allowing the riverside to become a part of Putney’s amenity.