October 29, 2020
PLP Labs have published ‘This changes everything’, an in-depth exploration into the future of the built environment in a post-pandemic world.
The global health crisis has had a tremendous impact on the built environment, creating disruption that has reverberated through our industry, both locally and globally. This unprecedented time has made us question our visions of the future, how it might be different and what it might look like. As cities begin to reopen their economies, the long-term implications that the virus will have on how people work and congregate, and on how businesses and buildings function, are starting to emerge.
Our PLP Labs research team has worked with the input of specialists and business leaders to clearly illustrate the disruptions occurring within the built environment and to encourage positive change moving forward. ‘This changes everything’ explores the effect of the pandemic on fifteen different elements of the built environment, with each topic including an evaluation of key changes, suggestions on how to move forward, and a discussion with a leading voice in that particular field. Through three key chapters – ‘Overarching Themes’, ‘City Design’ and ‘Sectors’ – we investigate everything from Resilience, Construction, and Mobility, through to Open Space, Workplace and Homes.
June 23, 2020
PLP Architecture is designing an innovative new smart headquarters for Yandex, the global technology leader, in the Gagarinsky District of Moscow. The inclusive, 170,000m2 campus will enable staff to have a healthy and sustainable place for seamless work and recreation, a space for inspiration and fun that will integrate technology with materiality to inspire new ideas and refined ways of working. The campus will be a striking yet sensitive addition to the city’s skyline, sitting on a prominent site near the Moskva River a short distance from the some of the city’s leading research institutions and the location of the company’s first office.
The sculptural, titanium-clad building will respect its sensitive context and connect to nearby parkland. Its adaptable design will bring a distinct new ambition to the tech campus, accommodating employees under one roof for the first time in a secure, interactive, collaborative environment that celebrates the company’s identity, technological innovation and collaborative achievements and aspirations.
The building will be lifted up to reveal a welcoming, activated ground floor that will step up across the site to connect a large, open plaza and green spaces on one side with neighbouring streets on the other. It will present a welcoming face for the company and feature a variety of open public spaces, including restaurants, cafes and the Yandex Museum, highlighting the company’s cultural and technological growth since the early 1990s. The main reception areas will sit on a mezzanine level to increase permeability and pedestrian access through the building.
At its heart, an open and light-filled central Hub will house collaborative zones, gadget testing areas, indoor green space and additional flexible spaces to encourage interaction and exchange. This will be cradled along three sides by long workspace wings that partially contain it, which in turn will be connected to the Hub by a series of bridges and open staircases. These wings will be nestled below sloping titanium roofs and house a variety of departmental workspaces with high ceilings and pockets of double-height space. Arranged laterally around elongated cores, they will be interspersed with shared amenity spaces to accommodate casual digital and physical exercise when needed throughout the day.
Along the perimeter, a series of double-height spaces will connect floors to help break down vertical boundaries and foster creativity through collaborative interaction and engagement. To supplement this, a sports centre with basketball and squash courts, a gymnasium and a large swimming pool will be coupled with additional wellbeing initiatives, such as spas, treatment rooms and saunas. Demolition of an existing hotel on the site will begin later this year, with construction following on from local authority approvals.
February 25, 2020
PLP Architecture is working with Native Land to create Bankside Yards, a vibrant new destination on London’s riverside between the Tate Modern and Southbank Centre.
Last night, Bankside Yards, Eastern Yards received full planning consent. It is comprised of 5 towers housing 341 residential units (with 37 affordable homes), a luxury hotel, office and cultural amenities along with a series of public spaces.
The full £1bn development will open up and will reinvigorate a 1.4m ft2 area focussed on the historic railway viaduct leading towards Blackfriars Station. Construction is underway on Western Yards, with completion expected in 2023.
February 20, 2020
The Fair Cities Platform has been officially launched at a kick-off event, attended by guests from a wide range of industries and backgrounds and organised jointly by the Fair Cities Platform steering group, which is comprised of PLP Labs, Connected Places Catapult and Gehl.
During the panel discussion, speakers were asked to share their expertise and consider new possibilities for some of the most pressing problems affecting our cities. The conversation covered topics such as the role of developers and public authorities in shaping who the city is for, as well as issues of unfair taxation, land ownership and value, access to quality housing and urban spaces, and potential ways of measuring fairness.
The Fair Cities Platform aims to create a space where conversations about conceiving, delivering, operating and managing fair cities can take place. It establishes an honest dialogue between communities, developers, action groups, investors, local authorities and architects. Through inclusive discussion, working groups and knowledge sharing, our industry can plug the gaps in knowledge and policy to overcome the hurdles that obstruct positive change in our cities.
The panel of experts was moderated by Connected Places Catapult’s Justin Kliger and included Dr Shira de Bourbon Parme (ForeGrounds), Matt Bell (Grosvenor) and Michael Edwards (UCL’s Bartlett School of Planning).
January 08, 2020
PLP Labs, in collaboration with UCL Design Computation Lab and digital artist Yiyun Kang, was invited to participate at the 8th edition of the Bi-City Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism held at the Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art and Planning in Shenzhen.
Curated by Carlo Ratti, Meng Jianmin and Fabio Cavallucci, with executive curator Manuela Lietti, the Biennale, titled “Urban Interactions”, looks at the evolving relationship between urban space and new, innovative technologies.
PLP’s installation, “Shenzhen – The Three-Dimensional City: Connected Aggregates in the Age of Robotic Urbanism”, is a speculation on a possible future city underpinned by IUMO – a multi-dimensional urban mobility protocol developed by PLP Labs.
In the near future, robots, powered by cities that are increasingly aware and intelligent, will solve mobility in increasingly automated ways. Lifts, trains, cars will be replaced with integrated transport protocols that can free movement from a two-dimensional topology, rendering cars, trains and lifts obsolete.
What will our cities look like when freed from these legacy transport technologies? What impact will this have on the way we negotiate and experience the city, the form of our buildings, the organisation of public realm or the way we conceive real estate?
PLP Labs attempts to answer these questions through a speculative look at a future version of Shenzhen where new mobility protocols will enable three-dimensional freedoms: buildings will no longer project vertically from the ground but connect in aggregates forming networks, bundles and other assemblages. Linking them together, are vehicles that can move on, under and above ground, climbing onto these new constructs to create a truly three-dimensional city.
Our contribution to the Biennale includes a large-scale physical model of this new urban possibility. Overlaid on this model, a series of digital projections will simulate the infrastructural substrate of the construct, patterns of movement, programmatic use, geographic and social data as well as offering an insight into the inner life of the buildings and urban spaces
The Biennale launched on December 21, 2019, and is running until March 31, 2020.
January 07, 2020
The Collective Stratford has received a resolution to grant planning permission from the London Legacy Development Corporation. The 22-storey scheme will feature short-stay co-living rooms, a community and events hub as well as affordable workspace for small businesses and local entrepreneurs. Plans for The Collective Stratford High Street were developed following extensive engagement with local businesses and community organisations to ensure the scheme meets their needs and is well integrated into the local area.
The Collective Stratford High Street will comprise 287 short-stay co-living rooms along with shared amenities and community space for local residents, charities and business and an art hub to showcase local talent and host a variety of weekly cultural events. Small businesses and local entrepreneurs will have access to office space including flexible and affordable co-working space.
The project will also include improvements to the adjacent Channelsea River, connecting it to the High Street via a landscaped forecourt.
The building is central to the Collective’s Community Investment Programme involving partnerships with local groups and charities to increase their outreach and social impact. James Penfold, global planning and communications director at The Collective, said: ’We’ve spent a lot of time in active dialogue with the community and as a direct result we’re proud to launch our Community Investment Programme, which will identify, fund and provide free use of our spaces for local charitable and creative enterprises. This is just one of the ways we endeavour to effect a long-term positive impact in every community we enter.’
Andrei Martin, partner at PLP Architecture, added: ’Our design for The Collective Stratford laminates work, cultural, social and accommodation spaces within a hybrid typology. Complementary uses and collaborative spaces supplement a compact arrangement of private living quarters so that working, living, creating, exchanging, socialising and entertaining all occur within a formal arrangement that operates more as a vertical neighbourhood than an individual building.’
Construction is due to start at the end of the year and to complete in 2023.
December 19, 2019
PLP Architecture and the developer Provast have won a major international competition for a new tower on a key redevelopment site in Rotterdam. The project, dubbed “Tree House,” focusses on creating a lively, inspiring, open and sustainable environment for residents and visitors in the city centre. At 140-meters and 37 storeys tall, the building will sit next to the Central Station as the tallest hybrid structure in the country and will be a bold new addition to the local area.
Tree House’s glazed facades are punctuated by long external timber-clad balconies, including some connected by staircases to help animate its urban presence. The upper levels will house 275 apartments, with 185 set aside for private rentals and 30% reserved for the mid-market sector. Below this, 15,000m2 of office space will be geared towards innovation and technology companies and include coworking areas curated by operator TQ. A seventh-floor restaurant will face a lush planted terrace, while at the ground floor, shops, cafes and a multi-function events and performance space help to draw the public in and provide a mix of amenities for the city’s use. The project team is working with De Dépendance, Rotterdam’s diverse platform for culture and debate, to create socially relevant programming throughout.
The building is being designed to stand at the forefront of architectural sustainability and will feature a part-timber structure with a concrete core, significant reused and recycled materials, rainwater collection and reuse and CO2 storage. External balconies and terraces feature plantings and greenery, spreading up towards a crown of three glazed greenhouses filled with trees and gardens to emphasise a commitment to biodiversity.
Partner Ron Bakker from PLP Architecture said, “We enjoy designing buildings that push boundaries, and this is an innovative, sustainable, mixed-use tower, with a hybrid timber structure, almost on top of Rotterdam's Central Station - a new typology for future cities.”
The project was selected from a group of three international team submissions including UN Studio and Group A. Construction is expected to begin in 2021, with completion in 2024.
November 26, 2019
PLP Architecture Partner Midori Ainoura spoke to Mapiq about the future of work and the role technology is playing in it. She addressed three thought-provoking statements about the future of smart offices with her unique insight. Midori helps lead PLP’s innovation in workplace design and strategy through her architecture and pioneering work with PLP Labs, and regularly speaks on the topic around the world. She was a driving force behind The Edge in Amsterdam, which was designed as the world’s smartest and most sustainable office building.
November 4, 2019
COIMA City Lab, a think tank focussed on the research and development of sustainable urban regeneration projects, today presented its first charter “Undertaking for Great Cities”, which sets measurable standards and establishes guidelines for sustainable urban regeneration in Milan.
Lee Polisano, president of PLP Architecture, is one of the primary members of COIMA City Lab. Lee developed and endorsed the charter alongside other members, Manfredi Catella (COIMA), Stefano Boeri (Stefano Boeri Architetti), Elizabeth Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro), Gregg Jones (Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects), Carlo Ratti (Carlo Ratti Associati), Cino Zucchi (Cino Zucci Architetti) and Christopher Choa (AECOM).
The charter states that urban regeneration projects must: serve the common good, create an identity and generate a ‘sense of place’, be in harmony with its surroundings, be resilient and adapt over time, contribute to a healthier environment, encourage integration, promote diversity and green culture. The City Lab Charter identified measurable objectives and uses a score card to track and measure whether a project meets the targets.
October 28, 2019
A new book on culture in developments, co-authored by PLP director Hala El Akl, was unveiled last week at the London City Hall. Aimed at developers, the guide "Including Culture in Development – A Step by Step Guide" sets out to help improve the creation and integration of quality public art and cultural infrastructure within development.
As part of her role as ULI UK Urban Art Forum Chair, Hala delivered the opening remarks of the event. She was joined by keynote speaker Fatoş Üstek, director of the Liverpool Biennale, Rachael Roe from the Greater London Authority, Sherry Dobin from Futurecity, and Simon Silver from Derwent London to discuss the key messages of the guide as well as the challenges and opportunities of integrating culture in development. The main topics discussed were the different forms of culture in development, stakeholder engagement and the measurements of success.
You can download a summary version of the guide or order a printed copy here Urban Land Institute UK
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries
August 23, 2019
With 22 Bishopsgate nearing completion and soon to become the City of London’s tallest building, the Architects’ Journal talks to PLP founding partner Karen Cook about her story and the evolution of the next tall building set to make a mark on London’s skyline.
From bespoke artworks to a social agenda, 22 Bishopsgate will set a new standard for workplace design. Adam Branson’s interview with Karen Cook walks you through how these ideas first came about and the unique elements that have made their way into the final design.
June 13, 2019
PLP Architecture have co-authored a report published today by Knight Frank, the Senior Living Survey, which explores the current state and the future of Later Living from the perspective of designers, investors and seniors themselves.
PLP’s research piece investigates the evolving needs of senior citizens, new technologies and typologies – and projects how these could unlock new potentials for the future of design for senior living property. The piece is co-authored by PLP director Thomas Hardin and collaborator Anne Feikje Weidema.
You can read the full report here www.knightfrank.com
Thomas Hardin, PLP Architecture
June 10, 2019
PLP Architecture’s models are on display at the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition, which will be open to the public until the 12th August. Visitors will get to experience two of PLP’s projects, Timber Vortex (The Hague) and The Strands (Oman). The models join an outstanding selection of architectural works in the RA’s Large Weston Room, curated by architect Spencer de Grey RA. This year’s curation revolves around humankind’s impact on the natural world and investigates how architects have responded to the imminent environmental catastrophe.
Timber Vortex, The Hague, is part of PLP’s Oakwood Timber Tower series. The design explores the possibilities of wood as a high-rise construction material and investigates a system that is poised to radically alter construction methods in the upcoming years, as well as fundamentally transform our relationship with nature in the city. The project was undertaken with the University of Cambridge and Smith & Wallwork engineers.
The Strands, Oman, mixes residential, hotel and retail uses in a design that makes harsh conditions habitable by channeling prevailing winds through a series of densely shaded gardens. The natural system is inspired by Oman’s traditional village alleys but transforms the technique into an environment for modern and future living.
This year will mark the institution’s 251st show, the event having run without interruption since 1769. The Summer exhibition is the world’s largest open submission art show and brings works from leading artists, Royal Academicians and household names, as well as new and emerging talent.
Read Spencer de Grey’s write up of the exhibition on Architecture Today here: www.architecturetoday.co.uk
May 31, 2019
PLP Architecture was one of the trailblazer practices that helped put together the Modern Apprenticeship Standard for Architecture. We are excited to be offering a level 7 Architectural Apprenticeship Programme (equivalent) to RIBA Part 2 & 3) for potential candidates who want to become architects.
If you are considering a career in architecture, but you are not sure if studying full-time at university is for you – or if you’ve completed part of your architect training and want to earn a salary whilst undertaking the next step – then a degree apprenticeship could be the right route for you. Apprenticeships combine practical experience in the workplace with academic training provided by a university. A minimum of 20% of the apprentice’s contracted hours must be spent undertaking this formal training.
Any student wishing to do their Part 2 may apply. The details of the specific apprenticeship programme will be available from the University.
For more details please email [email protected] with the subject heading Apprenticeship programme.
May 13, 2019
The tallest building in the City of London has ceremoniously topped out, celebrating reaching its highest point in the structure of 294.520mAOD. Representatives from across the project team, including Multiplex, AXA IM – Real Assets, on behalf of an international consortium of investors, Lipton Rogers Developments and PLP Architecture attended the ceremony on Friday to mark this significant milestone for the project.
April 6, 2019
‘Forget tech, what about the humans?’ PLP’s Hala El Akl spoke at the MIT World Real Estate Forum as part of a panel discussion on the human dimensions of technological growth in our cities. A huge thanks to panel moderator Marie Puyaraud (JLL) and fellow speakers Jeroen de Swart (EDGE Technologies), Kate Langan (ANZ), Peter Prischl (eFM) and to the MIT Center for Real Estate.
Hala also spoke to audiences about the changing role of the architect in today’s world. She talked about how we must balance calls for growing human comfort with an awareness of the environmental impacts this can have; how collaboration and shared ideas can be the driver of real change; and how we must be adding value to cities outside of our traditional remit.
Professor Mark Skilton, Warwick Business School
March 08, 2019
22 Bishopsgate will be the tallest building in the City of London and pave the way for a new generation of user focused, smart and healthy high-rise buildings. PLP’s Karen Cook, lead designer of the building, talked to The Times about what this means for the City, the industry and ultimately the people that use the building.
Hala el Akl, Director, PLP Architecture
Midori Ainoura, Partner, PLP Architecture
March 05, 2019
PLP has launched PLP Labs, a new advisory and research group that will develop concepts and technologies to make the built environment more integrated with emerging technologies, more user-conscious and better equipped to fight climate change.
PLP Labs emerged from an ambition to rethink the role of the architect as a mediator between the unprecedented speed of technological and digital change and the comparative slow pace of urban development.
The new group carries forward a strong lineage of PLP’s decade-long work in driving research-based innovation in architecture and urban design. Examples include the design of the most successful spatial co-living concept to date for The Collective, an innovative integrated emission-free on-demand ride-sharing system using autonomous electric vehicles, one of the world's most sustainable and smartest office building in Amsterdam packed with some 28,000 sensors called The Edge, as well as ongoing research in collaboration with the University of Cambridge about the use of timber as a structural material in high rise buildings.
PLP Labs will collaborate with neuroscientists, social and data scientists and tech companies to explore research-based solutions to help businesses, property developers, governments and cities stay ahead of emerging innovations in other sectors and to capitalize on unexplored territories of the built environment that can increase social, environmental and financial value.
The Labs’ work ranges from developing frameworks for transforming public assets into multi-use developments, collective live 3D holographic modelling which allows multiple users to design collaboratively in real time, research into subterranean and sub-aquatic networks of tunnels for autonomous electric vehicles, as well as studies on the circular economy and strategies for materials re-use. Some of the institutions PLP has partnered with on research include the City of Stockholm, Cambridge University and the World Economic Forum.
Tina Qiu, PLP Architecture
February 25, 2019
PLP Senior Associate Partner, Tina Qiu, was interviewed by Insider Trends magazine on the future of retail design. How can trends in design be reconciled with longevity and adaptability of space? Can constrictions in the brief instigate creative responses? And is their a vision for the future that helps guide our designs? Tina, architect and designer for the shell and core the new Adidas flagship store on Oxford Street, which will open later in the year, answers these questions and others.
January 28, 2019
PLP Architecture’s proposal for the extension of Krea University in India, has been successful in an invited international design competition.
The campus will create over 450,000 sqm of innovative academic space, alongside staff and student accommodation, support, sports and leisure facilities. The 220 acre site will be an integral element of Sri City, a new industrial and business hub in the Andhra Pradesh region of South-East India.
The new interdisciplinary university will be assembled around a core academic centre. A Learning and Teaching hub will provide a diverse array of learning spaces from traditional Harvard style lecture theatres and seminar rooms to contemporary and dynamic creative zones collected around circulation routes. The approach is to create a technology-rich environment, data driven and adaptive to the student’s needs, with science merged with the creative arts. Laboratories, shared technical spaces and exhibition areas are brought together as a collaborative whole.
The University aspires to create a different and progressive learning environment, with direct correlations to real world interaction in business and industry, and so the design of the campus will facilitate this teaching ethos. A new library building, including special collections and digital media, will be the emblematic soul of the campus: an iconic presence and focal point for independent research, whilst the Student Centre will be the social hub of the University, providing space for dining, events, clubs and academic support. The University is keen to forge direct links with local business, and so an Innovation Hub will provide accelerator space for start-ups and growing business, conference facilities and teaching areas for evening classes and professional development. The wellbeing of students has driven the masterplan, with a focus on healthy living and vitality. A sports centre with a range of recreational fitness facilities spills out into external sports fields, which form part of natural ribbon of green public realm that links the north-east and south-west boundaries of the site. Edge plots will be used for local farming as a laboratory for agricultural research, and a way of producing fresh and sustainable food for the Campus, which will be fully residential, accommodating 10,000 students, 1000 staff and visitors.
January 22, 2019
In a joint venture with Newcastle University, we are pleased to announce the first year of student applications for the Gavin Eldred and PLP Architecture Bursary. Gavin Eldred, 1965 - 2017, earned his degree in Architecture at Newcastle University. Passionate about architecture, Gavin worked to support his studies. He travelled to New Zealand to practice, and after settling in London became a Director at PLP Architecture. Among the significant built work that Gavin helped deliver are The Four Seasons Hotel in Abu Dhabi; NOVA-Victoria in Westminster; and 22 Bishopsgate, the tallest office tower in the City of London. In honour of Gavin’s love for life and Architecture, PLP Architecture will offer a bursary in the amount of £2500 to one student, to encourage the study of Architecture. The bursary will be awarded in four consecutive years to four different students.
For more information, please visit:
November 26, 2018
The construction of Tower Ten, the new expansion of the World Trade Centre Amsterdam, officially began last week at a Ground Breaking Ceremony launched by deputy director Sandra Thesing of the City of Amsterdam and Ronald van der Waals of CBRE Global Investors, the Fund Manager of the Fund that owns the building in the Zuidas central business district.
Since gaining planning approval from the city last year, the site has been decanted and prepared ready for part demolition and reconstruction. Much of the structure and slabs of the existing facility will be re-used, though Tower Ten will present a radically different appearance from its predecessor, adding 32,000 sqm of new office space and amenities in the process.
The original World Trade Center was built in the 1980s as a rational sequence of gridded blocks of concrete frame and glazed curtain walling. A thorough refurbishment of the four original towers, as well as a substantial extension to the campus, were completed over a decade ago by the design team led by Ron Bakker and Lee Polisano of PLP Architecture. PLP has now returned to the campus to deliver the third major iteration in the history of the Center’s development.
November 13, 2018
Karl Sharro, PLP Partner, presented research on Gulf urbanism in a keynote speech at Dubai Design Week. The discussion illustrated our ideas about the future development of cities in the region, and how technological development can have a bold influence on interaction, movement, culture, learning, the workplace and living. Arab cities today face serious challenges, but they also have huge potential. We have been working on a piece of research, leading to the first in a series of publications, The New Arab City - Volume 1: The Gulf.
The debate has been reported by The National, who demonstrated glee in reporting some of the more futuristic elements of the proposals.
Karl Sharro, PLP Architecture
November 9, 2018
PLP Partner and President, Lee Polisano was interviewed by Elizabeth Hopkirk for Building Magazine. The cover story delves into Lee’s history, motivations, hobbies, and aspirations for the future, as well as discussing TwentyTwo Bishopsgate, currently under construction and the tallest structure in the emerging cluster of towers in the City of London.
Lee Polisano, PLP Architecture
October 8, 2018
The Telegraph reports today on the unique interiors of our new residential development for Lodha in Bloomsbury. The building will open at the end of the year, and will offer 230 apartments with amenities for residents, and a landscaped courtyard with communal gardens. The interior design team comprises Bowler James Brindley, and the Spanish designer, Patricia Urquiola – it is her debut residential project in London.
September 25, 2018
The second of PLP Architecture’s Metropolitan Reflections series was held at the Arts Club in Central London yesterday. The event focussed on the changing nature of work and brought together 10 leading voices in the field. It featured a keynote address from Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment at the University of Oxford.
Metropolitan Reflections bring together leading experts from across the industry and related disciplines in a small and intimate roundtable environment to foster knowledge sharing related to cultural shifts in the contemporary built environment. The events were launched in 2018.
Larry Yuen, Kohler President.
September 19, 2018
PLP Founding Partner Ron Bakker delivered a keynote speech at the Kohler Design Forum at the Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s in London yesterday. The theme of the conference, “All Things Connected”, provided a good basis for interesting discussion in relation to the integration of architecture, design and technology. Hosted in conjunction with Monocle, a global affairs and lifestyle magazine, the new series was moderated by Josh Fehnert, Executive Editor at Monocle. Conversations were focused on how smart technology is shaping the world we live in and offered an interactive discussion on the integration of design and technology into our daily lives, touching on meaningful topics such as ‘Responsive Cities’ and discussing the use of smart technology in a people-centric way, and where the possibilities of artificial intelligence might take us.
September 10, 2018
Corso Como Place in Milan, designed by PLP Architecture, was presented today to an audience in Milan at a well anticipated and attended launch event. Manfredi Catella, Founder and CEO of COIMA SGR, client for the project, explained the motivations for the scheme in the wider context of the Porta Nuova masterplan, which aims to connect a new series of developments with high quality public and community spaces.
Lee Polisano of PLP explained our design approach for Corso Como Place, which comprises the redevelopment of an existing modernist building: The Unilever Tower; which was constructed in 1962 but has become unloved and unused due to some misplaced attempts to renovate the building in the past. Our approach re-uses the existing structure of the original building to create a reimagined crystalline urban object in an enhanced public realm. Alongside, a new pavilion building acts as a gateway to the lively hub of the adjacent Corso Como.
The development is currently under construction and is due for completion at the end of 2020.
June 11, 2018
The summer exhibition at the RA is always a favourite event in the London cultural calendar. This year, PLP Architecture was fortunate enough to have two project models selected for the architecture room: Oakwood Tower, and Tour888/IUMO (formerly known as SkyPod). Both projects are the result of our own research, conducted by PLPLabs. Oakwood Tower is the first in a series of collaborations with Cambridge University to interrogate the potential of tall buildings constructed from wood. The IUMO project is an exploration of a new system of circulation that takes elevators out of central cores and positions them on the exterior of buildings. We are interested in how this logistical move might influence the future form of new urban structures.
Curated by Piers Gough, the newly configured architecture room at the RA forms a key and connected centrepiece for the entire exhibition. It offers a refreshed visual approach that balances pieces from both established and emerging practices. A central spine of tall buildings, which includes PLP’s two entries, divides the room into two main sections and playfully features a fun, accessible portal in its middle through which visitors can pass. In addition, the physical bounds of the space have been blurred thanks to intentional placement of more architectural pieces of art in the adjacent rooms.
At PLP, we have a large and dedicated team of modelmakers led by Neil Merryweather. We advocate the role of the model in the design process by bringing together craftsmanship with artistic vision, intelligence of approach and a continued exploration of new materials and techniques. Our modelmaking team uses processes including etching, lazer cutting, 3D printing and rapid prototyping to create an extraordinary array of representational models.
May 22, 2018
PLP Architecture has been named by the London Stock Exchange Group as one of the companies that are making Britain tick. PLP was the first featured company in the Creative Industries sector and the only architectural practice to be singled out for this prestigious publication.
PLP’s design and research work continues to investigate the sometimes unexpected impact of technology on our architecture, cities and our way of life.
The Edge, our new headquarters office for Deloitte in Amsterdam, has been named by Bloomberg as the greenest and the smartest building in the world. Our headquarters for Sky in London creates a radically new environment where wellbeing acts as an engine for creativity; the building has been recognized through numerous awards including the British Council for Offices Best of Best 2017. The Collective Old Oak in London is the largest co-living space in the world, offering an unprecedented residential typology for young professionals in a housing market that has been struggling to meet their needs.
PLP Labs, our in house think tank, co-opts ideas outside of architecture’s standard discourse into the day to day life of the studio. Part of this effort is our collaboration with Cambridge University to develop London’s first all-timber residential highrise. This 300 meter tower employs a structural system poised to radically alter construction methods in the upcoming years as well as fundamentally transform our relationship with nature in the city.
We are also researching the critical role of mobility in the contemporary metropolis through the development of an integrated form of movement through the city and its buildings. One of our current projects is IUMO (formerly known as SkyPod) – a new vertical transportation concept which will revolutionise skyscraper design. Another is IUMO (formerly known as CarTube), an urban transport system based on a fusion of two technologies - mass transit and autonomous vehicle – that will radically reinvent urban mobility and change the nature of public realm in the city.
We are very pleased that others are taking notice of our work, and we look forward to sharing some of the exciting projects that are still on our drawing boards.
April 18, 2018
PLP Architecture has been selected for Mayor Sadiq Khan’s new Architecture and Urbanism framework. The framework covers architecture, urban design, public realm, and housing projects on publicly owned land throughout London.
The framework seeks to improve the procurement of building design in London, promoting an efficient, fair and economical approach to development in the capital. It will assist London boroughs, housing associations, mayoral development corporations and other bodies and will incorporate a greater range of expertise in housing-led development and master planning than its predecessor, The Architecture Design Urbanism Panel (ADUP), which was launched in 2012.
To support Sadiq Khan’s promise to deliver genuinely affordable homes for the capital, PLP, along with other selected practices, will help to bring forward more than 100 residential-led developments planned for Transport for London’s 2,300 hectare estate.
Lee Polisano, PLP Architecture
March 19, 2018
PLP Partner Andrei Martin spoke at Texas A&M College of Architecture. The lecture, titled “Another Kind,” focused on lesser known PLP projects, including N+ Masterplan, Yuyao International City of Culture and Arts, St Helen's and The Nexus.
March 15, 2018
Porta Nuova, Milan’s central business district, was awarded Best Urban Regeneration Project of the year at the MIPIM ceremony gala in Cannes on Thursday. The vision of COIMA CEO Manfredi Catella, and the result of a vast collaborative effort - involving more than 20 design architects from 8 different countries including PLP president Lee Polisano and PLP partners Alessandra Luzzatto and Andrei Martin, the project has transformed over 290,000sqm of industrial wasteland into a thriving mixed-use urban hub. Comprising office space, residential units as well as retail and cultural venues, Porta Nuova is one of the largest urban development projects in Europe.
PLP Partner Kevin Flanagan spoke at this year’s Smart Building Conference in Amsterdam on the subject of ‘Meeting Places and the APIs of the Working Community’. Introducing our project The Edge for Deloitte, the presentation focussed on how architecture responds to big changes at the interface of people, technology and the built environment and the different ways this can improve our way of life.
PLP Architecture has launched a studio in Japan. The office is PLP’s second expansion in Asia and will operate alongside existing bases in London and Beijing. Located in the Shibuya area of Tokyo, the studio will serve local clients, support projects in the region and act as a liaison for international clients pursuing opportunities in Japan and Southeast Asia.
PLP Architecture is an award-winning practice that has created some of the world's smartest and most sustainable buildings that redefine what it means to live and work in today’s cities. Completed projects include The Edge in Amsterdam, which Bloomberg called ‘the smartest building in the world’, and Sky Central in London, which the British Council for Offices (BCO) designated the best workplace for 2017.
Working closely with London-based PLP Director Midori Ainoura, the Tokyo office will be led by Raita Nakajima. Raita has a wealth of experience in delivering high profile international projects in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Japan and SE Asia and has worked with the partners of PLP for more than 10 years.
The opening was featured in World Architecture Community.
The Collective Old Oak features as part of the recently opened exhibition ‘New Urban Body’ at La Triennale di Milano, curated by Giordana Ferri of Fondazione Housing Sociale and designed by ETT SpA Solutions.
The playfully designed and interactive show illustrates the flexibility and growth of how people live and work together and what kind of positive impact this has on urban redevelopment and the transformation of the city.
Open from 24 November 2017 - 7 January 2018
More information available here:
We're thrilled to announce that Sky Central has won Best Workplace of the Year at the Architects’ Journal Awards and UK Project of the year at the FX Design awards, alongside AL_A and Hassell.
AJ Architecture Awards judges
FX Awards judges
It is with enormous regret and great sadness that we inform you of the unexpected passing of our colleague, our mentor, and most of all, our great friend Gavin Eldred.
Many of us were fortunate to know and work with Gavin for many years. His breadth of knowledge, deep commitment to the craft of our discipline and his ability to bring buildings to life have enriched some of our most important and pivotal projects.
Gavin possessed unique abilities that enabled him to assemble, orchestrate and inspire teams throughout all stages of design, galvanising them to accomplish more than they ever thought possible. Through his generous and patient mentoring, he trained an entire generation of younger architects, who, in turn, admired Gavin as the exemplar of what an architect should be.
Gavin’s legacy will endure in the ambitious and innovative buildings he helped create.
British Council for Offices
Sky Central wins 'Best of the Best' and 'Corporate Workplace' categories at this year's British Council for Offices National Awards.
Our high rise in Stratford, the second building we have designed for the co-living startup Collective, was approved last night by the London Legacy Development Corporation. The building, a speculation on the future of housing and urbanism, proposes a vertical ecosystem of working, playing, creating and living.
Located near London’s Olympic Park, the 19-storey building will accommodate 250 co-living units along with a wealth of indoor and outdoor amenity spaces. At ground, a gallery curated by the Bow Arts Trust will link the street to the Channelsea River beyond. Above, an office incubator for local start-ups will provide co-working spaces for over 80 people.
The expression of the project is not conferred through a flamboyant shape or through an overwrought facade, but rather by its collective event spaces, which give the building its identity. The project has a simple, calm and dignified facade and a streamlined, slender silhouette. Against this calm composition, the rooftop amenity spaces stand out as an extraordinary counterpoint; an expressive beacon in the sky.
PLP was in responsible for the Interior architecture of the new Sky Central Headquarters. Working together with workplace designer HASSELL, we conceived a design that promotes flexible, collaborative, task-based working. This flexibility was achieved through the creation across the vast floor plates, of multiple distinct neighbourhoods, linked together by the architecture of central mezzanines, stairs and ramps. This connective tissue encourages employees to take different routes around the office, allowing for unexpected and surprising interactions to occur naturally and act as a catalyst to internal business innovations.
Lee Polisano, president and founding partner of PLP Architecture joined property entrepreneur David Rosen, Hon FRIBA and senior partner at Pilcher Hershman, to discuss how their projects have impacted London and to give their insights on the ever changing property and architectural landscape in London. Paul Finch, World Architecture Festival Director, moderated the event.
In 2013, following an invited competition, PLP Architecture was commissioned to design the interior and develop the exterior for Sky Central - the main building of their West London campus.
The design brief required a building that would galvanise 3500 employees into a single community whose identity would reflect the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of broadcasting and telecommunications.
PLP worked together with Sky to develop the content and programmatic distribution of the building.
The Francis Crick Institute is the result of an unprecedented partnership between six of the world’s leading biomedical and academic organisations, bringing together multidisciplinary groups of researchers to develop ground-breaking research for the improvement of human health. PLP, working together with HOK, have designed the building to be highly interactive and open, with five floors of laboratories above ground specifically designed to promote interdisciplinary work. The Francis Crick Institute adheres to strong sustainability principles, setting a new standard for modern sustainable design. The building has achieved an Excellent BREEAM rating with a final score of 74% and has been designed to comply with Building Regulations Part L 2010.
PLP’s Sky Central for major UK broadcaster Sky, has been featured in the Financial Times. The article ‘Sky’s the limit for latest theory in office design’ speaks about the new headquarter building and how the design changes the way staff collaborate and work.
In 2013, following an invited competition, PLP Architecture, Arup, Mace, AL_A & Hassell were commissioned to design the new Headquarters for broadcaster Sky, called Sky Central - the main building of their West London campus. The design brief required a building that would galvanise 3,500 employees into a single community whose identity would reflect the fast-paced and ever-evolving nature of broadcasting and telecommunications.
Sky Central is a unique example of unconventional (workspace) design, efficient engineering and delivery combined to meet high aspirations around sustainability, flexibility and people wellbeing.
PLP Architecture was commissioned by Sky to design the interior architecture and develop the exterior for Sky Central - the main building of their 7,000 - person West London campus. The building is designed to to engage 3500 Sky colleagues in producing the best work of their career.
A design was conceived that promotes flexible, collaborative, task-based working. This flexibility was achieved through the creation across the vast floor plates, of multiple distinct neighbourhoods, linked together by the architecture of central mezzanines, stairs and ramps. This established a range of different work areas. This connective tissue encourages employees to take different routes around the office, allowing for unexpected and surprising interactions to occur naturally and act as a catalyst to internal business innovations. These various journeys also shape the central experience of the building: an open space where both ideas and people flow and interweave continually.
Cindy Lau, Director at PLP, joined the Mix Interiors Roundtable discussion on ‘Designing an experience’ on April 19th, 2017. Much talked about is the term productivity in the workplace; but many believe that even the end user client doesn’t know what productivity looks like. What seems to be more relevant is focusing on the ‘experience’ and through that the client get the best out from their talents. Cindy discussed the process of engaging the client to understand their aspirations and realise it through intelligent design. She also shared her views on the future of workplace and the importance of designing an experience in relation to productivity.
As an example, she introduced PLP’s design of the Edge, which has been recognized internationally as ‘the smartest and most sustainable office building in the world’, and the new headquarters of leading broadcasting company Sky in West London, offering an interactive production hub to 3,700 creatives.
PLP's Sky Central building, the new headquarters of leading broadcasting company Sky in West London, hosted the pre-fight news conference for this weekend’s heavyweight fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua.
Journalists and employees watched the two Olympic champions engage in verbal combat during the press conference, beneath the new glass-walled Sky News Studio.
"It promises to be an amazing day here in Osterley and it's a great opportunity for the outside world to see our new campus," said a Sky spokesman.
The London Planning Awards is organised in partnership with the Mayor of London, London First, RTPI, Planning Officers Society and London Councils, to recognise and reward best practice in planning in the capital.
PLP Architecture joined CBRE and HOK as a key party to the Planning Performance Agreement agreed with Camden Council which enabled intensive consultation with key development and design officers from Camden and the GLA.
This highly contextual building, that responds to its location next to St Pancras station and the British Library, and the external expression and massing of the building are the result of intensive consultation with the local planning authority in Camden, the GLA, stakeholders and local residents’ groups.
99 events were held in the months prior to the applications submission and this degree of consultation and the low volume of subsequent representations as a result have been highlighted as an example of best practice.
The Francis Crick Institute is an extraordinary example of collaborative work in science today. A consortium of six of the UK's largest organisations for biomedical research, the Institute brings together multidisciplinary groups of researchers to develop ground-breaking research for the improvement of human health. To house this centre, HOK with PLP Architecture devised a building that operates both as a complex laboratory as well as a place for collaboration and exchange.
Lars Hesselgren, Director of Research at PLP, featured in Emerging Models of Transdisciplinarity, a film about the nature of design research today.
A paradigm shift is happening in design that is not rooted in particular disciplines, sectors or industries. Design is becoming an engine of innovation and is disrupting existing modes of production and consumption. Design industry, research and education require a new way of thinking: one that embraces a culture of innovation.
Lee Polisano will speak about 'Pioneering Urbanity in an Expanding Capital' at the New London Vernacular Conference on April 26th. This event, initiated by UCL, will explore further with other planners, architects and practitioners some of the issues which are arising in their research project on "Governing the Future City".
For more info:
The Francis Crick Institute, designed by HOK with PLP Architecture, has been shortlisted in the UK National Royal Town Planning Institute’s Awards for Planning Excellence under the category ‘Economically Successful Places’. PLP Architecture has led the planning submission for The Francis Crick Institute, Europe’s largest biomedical research institute, housing more than a thousand scientists from different disciplines next to King’s Cross Station. The RTPI Awards celebrate exceptional examples of planning and the contribution planners make to society.
Ron Bakker joined the Annual ULI Winter Drinks, where he spoke about the Future of the Workplace and shared his latest thoughts on office design and working methods and their effect on productivity.
Main question was; Is the era of open plan offices coming to an end and will it bring with it another headache for landlords? Ron Bakker was in charge of the design of The Edge, the most sustainable and smartest office building in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Other speakers included; Philip Ross, CEO, Unwork, Andrew Lynch, Co-Founder & COO, Huckletree and Kaela Fenn-Smith, Head of Commercial, London Portfolio, Land Securities.
The event was organised by the ULI UK Young Leaders Committee at the recently redeveloped Television Centre, in White City, on the evening of 26th January. Hala El Akl, senior assiociate at PLP, co-shares the YL group at ULI UK.
PLP’s Oakwood Timber Tower’s Research, developed in partnership with the Centre for Natural and Material Innovations at the University of Cambridge, and engineering firm Smith and Wallwork, looks towards creating new design potentials with tall timber buildings, rather than simply copying the forms of steel and concrete construction. Kevin Flanagan, interviewed by BBC World News, spoke about the human perception and positive impact of wood on our emotional experiences in build environments.
Through a combination of theoretical design and physical testing, this research demonstrates the viability of timber buildings at much greater heights than has previously been possible. Tall Timber Skyscrapers are revolutionary, sustainable and are changing the conventional way of building. The project aspires to make tall timber buildings a reality.
PLP Architecture has unveiled the concept design for IUMO (formerly known as CarTube), during the ‘Future of Urban Mass Transportation’ Conference held on December 2nd 2016 in London. The Conference brought together researchers and scientists from the UK and abroad to discuss the direction of future transportation technology. The IUMO concept translates a pioneering mobility solution which combines two existing modes of transport, automated electric cars and mass transit, into a single, seamless underground road system.
Lars Hesselgren, Director of Research at PLP Architecture: “IUMO is a direct response to mass transit and traffic congestion in the world’s largest cities. Moving high-speed car traffic below ground will revolutionise our concept of the city, allowing our urban spaces to be designed not for cars, but for people. IUMO has the potential to be the next best thing to teleportation and will revolutionise exiting cities and allow for unprecedented urban forms.”
PLP Architecture will continue their research on IUMO and will act as a catalyst for innovation, bringing together great minds from different backgrounds to imagine a future where cars don't compete but collaborate.
Sky’s new flagship building ‘Sky Central’ has opened at the company’s campus in Osterley, West London.
The new office was completed in July, and accommodates 3,500 employees. Designed for flexibility, openness and to foster the lively flow of people and ideas around the business, the building is the centrepiece of Sky’s group headquarters.
PLP Architecture was invited to re-think and design the building’s interior, develop the external envelope to respond to the changing interior programme and deliver the project through to completion following an invited design competition via the main contractor bid.
June 11, 2018
Lars Hesselgren, Head of Research at PLP Architecture, revealed the latest design for IUMO (formerly known as SkyPod), featuring an innovative propulsion system based on Maglev technology to delegates at the 22nd International Congress on Vertical Transportation Technologies. IUMO is the result of four years of research undertaken by PLP Labs, the in-house think tank of PLP Architecture in London.
For this research project, we have proposed the replacement of the traditional vertical elevator shaft with a multi-directional transport system on the exterior of the building. Liberating vertical transport from the central core to the exterior of the building opens up opportunities for unprecedented architectural forms. If current skyscrapers often feel monolithic, self-contained and sometimes indifferent to their context, IUMO will allow for new types of buildings that, despite their height, are holistically integrated with the grain of the city around them. The elevator has been a primary influence on the shape and appearance of the modern city to date. We believe that its inevitable demise will be the catalyst for the next chapter in the formal life of the city.
IUMO has been developed by PLP Labs, our in-house think tank co-opting ideas from outside of architecture’s standard discourse into the day to day life of the studio.
September 29, 2020
On Monday 28th September, PLP Labs co-hosted the online event ‘Fair Cities: Race and Space’. The virtual roundtable brought together a group of key thinkers and decision makers from across the built environment sector, as well as experts on inequalities and race, to discuss the key issues around ethnicity, inequality and the urban environment and what the built environment community needs to be doing better.
Conversation started with a moderated discussion between Shaun Danquah (The Social Innovation Partnership), Tara Gbolade (Gbolade Design Studio) and Professor Haim Yacobi (UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit). Following from this, participants split into smaller groups for roundtable sessions to discuss the roles and responsibilities of architects and planners, and ideas for better practice.
The virtual roundtable was the second to be run by the Fair Cities Platform, a partnership between PLP Labs, Connected Places Catapult and Gehl. The Platform facilitates discussion on how to build better cities for the people that live in them, to improve people’s quality of life as well as help organisations identify key areas of focus to achieve their ESG ambitions in a meaningful way. Earlier this year the Platform launched with an event that focused on measuring social value in development.
To find out more about the Fair Cites platform, or to register your interest in taking part in future events, visit www.fair-city.org.