The Kensington Building

Kensington, London,UK

The Kensington Building

The Kensington Building sympathetically remodels the former Pontings department store in Kensington into an exemplar commercial hub. We have delivered three levels of landscaped terraces on the upper floors offering valuable social space, delivering maximum well-being and a better quality of work-life for occupants.

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Positioned in a prominent location on the corner of Kensington High Street and Wrights Lane, adjacent to High Street Kensington London Underground station, the Kensington Building by architects Pilbrow and Partners reimagines the former 1970s building into a flagship mixed-use development comprising flexible office space, ground floor retail spaces set within a new arcade and 12,329 sq ft of accessible outdoor terraces designed by Gillespies.

The proposals for client AshbyCapital also include enhancements to the public realm along Kensington High Street and Wrights Lane, improving permeability and connectivity to Kensington High Street Underground station while anchoring the development within its high-profile setting. The public realm improvements include new high-quality paving, raised linear planters and the planting of a single mature Quercus palustris tree that will provide a focal point of interest for visitors entering at the primary entrance to the arcade.

The focus of the scheme is a series of roof gardens on the third, fourth and fifth floors. The terraces offer green, calming spaces for the building’s occupants, extending the internal floorplates to cater for outdoor meetings and gatherings, as well as providing opportunities for access to fresh air, sunlight and planting, which is proven to improve well-being, creativity and productivity.

The planters have been carefully positioned to create zones for varying activities, from smaller, intimate spaces for meetings to a larger paved area with wrap-around seating on the fifth floor for gatherings and entertaining. The terraces are characterised and unified by a distinctive planting design language that is echoed across all three terraces, yet with subtle variations. Bold, sweeping lines of clipped hedges and raised planters filled with informal grasses soften the architecture, providing seasonal interest while establishing a strong relationship with the architecture. The planting complements the restrained hard material palette with a rich pattern of textures and shades of green for visual interest.

In the southwest corner of the building, a lightweight extensive sedum roof will help filter harmful compounds and provide new habitats, boosting biodiversity in this part of the City.

Gillespies is delivering public realm design and landscape design for the scheme.

"For The Kensington Building we introduced the principles of Biophilia to create the best working environment quality we could. Biophilia is a shared connection we have with nature and natural processes and explains why we enjoy interactions with plants in the urban realm. For this project we created spaces throughout the building with excellent visual and physical connections with nature to help stimulate those working within the building, with the added benefits of limiting work induced stress, stimulating social interaction, enhancing creativity and improving well-being as well as greatly uplifting the local biodiversity of the area."

Stephen Richards, Partner and Project Landscape Lead