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The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s Planning Committee has granted planning consent for the regeneration of a Brutalist 1970s car park site in the heart of Knightsbridge to provide the first ever high-end extra care residential development in Central London comprising 34 two-bed apartments with associated healthcare facilities.

The proposed scheme in Pavilion Road, SW1, is just two minutes’ walk from Harrods Department Store and it will create a strong example of contemporary architecture. It will lift the status of this island site and create a contextually refined landmark building in what is currently an unremarkable urban setting.

The new development offers the opportunity to establish a significant enhancement of the public realm and access to key medical facilities to the local elderly population.

The proposal aims to open up the site by creating a courtyard that links visually to Basil Street and is a physical extension of the Stackhouse and Rysbrack Streets. A central courtyard which is accessible to all tenants and a new shared public realm, contribute to the sense of community, promoting social interaction.

The architectural composition as a whole seeks to create an inclusive, rather than defensive, urban space.

Set-backs and cut-ins are formed on all floors to provide each unit with outdoor space. The floor plan also reduces as it rises, providing the upper levels with large roof terraces and opportunities to reduce the urban heat island effect through the use of green roofs, increased biodiversity and a sustainable urban drainage system.

The concept of the façade is a contemporary interpretation of the Queen Anne typology and the particular character of the so-called ‘Rose Red City’ of the immediate context.  The predominant views of the building will be oblique due to the enclosing street pattern and the design draws reference from a Queen Anne terrace within a typical street context, with emphasis of the vertical fenestration a feature.

This vertical modulation of the Queen Anne typology, the red brick finish with the white stucco and window frame accent were identified as key elements of the façade treatment of the new building, with the verticality expressed by a series of protruding terracotta fins.

The façade is thus formed by two skins, that of an outer masonry ‘shell’ over an inner crystalline form. The outer shell wraps the building with reference to the scale, materiality and colour of the surrounding context with the crystalline glazed wall behind progressively revealed to the upper levels of the elevation and fully revealed within the courtyard.

The underlying objective is to deliver a contemporary, yet sensitive design that respects the local vernacular and enhances the character and quality of the Hans Town Conservation Area.

This development will join a cluster of contemporary buildings by PDP London in the Hans Town Conservation area such as Basil Street’s The Lansbury, offices at 32-44 Hans Crescent, retail at 79-81 Brompton Road and a residential development at 21-22 Hans Place.