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Abell & Cleland

Two separate blocks for Berkeley Homes to replace two ex-government buildings with a mix of private and affordable housing. The new scheme is arranged around generous landscaped gardens and courtyards.


DSDHA/EPR (executive architect)



John Islip Street SW1P 4LN

Sat 2pm-5pm. Pre-book only via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/open-house-exclusive-site-tour-of-abell-cleland-house-tickets-26684182107. Max 15 per tour.


87, 88, C10, 507

  • Architect on site
  • Refreshments available

ABELL & CLELAND The driving principle behind the designs for Abell House and Cleland House is to create two new residential buildings that respond to their unique location and context, with proportions, massing and materials in keeping with the surrounding high quality buildings and to enhance the local environment by building on the characteristics of the area. The proposal will replace two dark and formidable ex-government buildings with two new buildings that are uplifting, light, welcoming and which create a positive contribution to the streetscape. It is intended to create two buildings, which are complementary yet establish their own identity. The scheme also responds to its location on the edge of two significant Conservation Areas, with an understanding and analysis of the historic context fundamental to the architectural response. Cleland House, which forms a prominent corner building addressing Horseferry Road, creates a gateway to the development. The articulation of the fa‡ade responds to its axial relationship with St John_s, Smith Square to the North. It is considered that an _urban imprint_ from the eighteenth century Baroque church has been applied to the fa‡ade and this has lead to an emphasis on vertical articulation to establish hierarchy. The roofline gently recedes resulting in a classical _Casino_, or outside room, which offers delight and intrigue at high level, in much the same way as the towers of St John_s take on an aedicular form that suggests occupation and an animated skyline. The inner layer of the fa‡ade is composed of vertical fluted semi-glazed ceramic panels and bronze anodized window frames, the refined details and crafted tactile quality of which is revealed as one nears the building. Abell House provides a transition between the _modern city_ to its immediate north and the Millbank Estate and Tate Britain to the south. The size and rhythm of the vertical columns increase in frequency as the building transitions from ground to the upper stories and the proportional sequence of the horizontal precast banding break the elevations down to a classical composition of base, middle and top to create visual hierarchy. Behind the outer precast tracery, balconies are inset providing sheltered private amenity space. A generous triple height entrance lobby is aligned with the axis of a popular pedestrian route giving views through to the gardens and creating a feeling of visual permeability. The proposed landscape, designed by Wirtz International, acknowledges the importance of views from the street and the transition from street-to-lobby and lobby-to-garden; from public to private, as well as the possible amenity that landscape can bring to the passerby. ‘Westminster Diptych’ was selected for the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 2012.