Putney Wharf, London
St George has delivered a new urban quarter on the banks of the River Thames. With its high-quality public realm and considered mix of bars and restaurants, it has quickly become established in south west London.
Putney Wharf’s focal point is a refurbished office tower (the 1960s ICL building), converted by expanding the rectangular floorplate with a curved extension to the river front, as well as adding four storeys to create 67 two and three bed apartments. Visible on the skyline across south west London, the tower’s facade of banded glazed and aluminum cladding flags up the new leisure destination below.
The cluster of smaller buildings around the tower includes two white rendered blocks both called The Brewhouse, each containing apartments over ground floor commercial units. The larger block containing 80 apartments runs parallel to the Thames to form Putney Riverside Square, also known as the piazza. Set back further from the river and fronting Putney Bridge Road is Castle Court, which extends the shopping streets of Putney High Street eastwards. The space between Castle Court and The Brewhouse includes an internal court garden. There are three internal court gardens across the development including one as a podium over underground parking.
Part of the original brewery and warehouse that stood on the site has been retained as a new public house called the Boathouse. This is close to the south west corner of the development and adjacent to Putney Police Station. Despite the likely impact of one of London’s largest police stations overlooking much of the development, extensive thought has gone into controlling the public realm. There is CCTV, concierges and an onsite team who manage against any nuisance that would upset the balance of residential and commercial use and keep to strict standards for the cleanliness of the environment.
The scale of the development also helped to finance the quality of detailing in the piazza. Hard and soft landscaping is of a high standard and there are richly hued imported stone flagstones and setts, supplemented with monumental masonry for public seating and planters. A stairwell access to the underground car park is capped with a stainless steel shelter.
The eastern edge of the site steps down to three storey and two storey commercial and residential buildings. These are built in a pastiche style to satisfy local residents’ fears about changes to the character of their neighbourhood. The western perimeter butts up to Putney Bridge and St Mary’s Church where works paid for by St George have created new community facilities, as well as a secondary square – large enough to host a monthly French market – in front of the church.
Existing streets and new pedestrian routes are well integrated into the new layout, and underground parking is provided for residents. One additional feature is that part of the river flood defence has been constructed so that it also acts as a small amphitheatre, with crowds on the day of the Boat Race in mind.