This residential scheme lies in the heart of the Bankside area of London, located close to the River Thames and directly opposite the west entrance to Tate Modern and its new extension. NEO Bankside comprises 217 residential units in four buildings ranging from 12 to 24 storeys. These four hexagonal pavilions have been arranged to provide residents with generous accommodation, stunning views and maximum daylight. The steel and glass pavilions take their cues from the immediate context.
A generous public realm is created which is animated by retail at ground level. Landscaped groves define two clear public routes through the site which extend the existing landscape from the riverside gardens outside Tate Modern through to Southwark Street and will act as a catalyst for creating a lively and vibrant environment around the base of the buildings throughout the year.
The overall design hints at the former industrial heritage of the area during the 19th and 20th centuries, responding in a contemporary language which reinterprets the colouration and materials of the local architectural character. The oxide reds of the Winter Gardens echo those of Tate Modern and nearby Blackfriars Bridge, while the exterior’s timber clad panels and window louvres give the building a warm, residential feeling.
The pavilions’ distinctive external bracing system has removed the need for internal structural walls and created highly flexible spaces inside the apartments. Located outside of the cladding plane as a distinct and legible system the bracing gives a greater richness and depth to the façade and provides a scaling device which helps unify the micro scale of the cladding with the macro scale of the buildings. Interestingly, the dramatic appearance of the bracing and nodes has become a selling point, with many buyers requesting apartments with nodes outside their windows.
Winter gardens are enclosed, single-glazed balconies at the north and south ends of each building, suspended from the main structure on a lightweight deck with large sliding screens. They act both as enclosed terraces and additions to the interior living space. The gardens effectively create ‘prows’ and are expressed as exposed steel decks suspended from the main floor plates on a system of props and hangers. Glazed lift towers provide all occupants with great views of London and the river, and a dynamic expression of the vertical circulation on the eastern side of each building.