Alsop Architects

February 05, 2007 /

London, United Kingdom

Photo: Christian Richters

Palestra, located on Blackfriars Road at the junction with Union Street directly opposite the new Southwark underground station, is clad by a patchwork of colour, giving scale and texture to the facade.

The building consists of a series of three distinct interconnected volumes. The tilted ground-scraping base slab lifts up towards the west, cantilevering six metres above the pavement to create a dynamic building entrance and public space.

Photo: Christian Richters

Photo: Christian Richters

The upper and lower boxes are differentiated by form and colour. The tilted lower box is clad in a structurally bonded double glazed curtain walling system. Each glazed panel has a colour printed full height across one-third the width of the glazing. The combined effect viewed externally is one of a patchwork of colour, giving scale and texture to the facade. Internally, the appearance of any colour within the office area is minimized.

Photo: Christian Richters

Between the upper and lower office boxes is a recessed office block that fronts onto an external terrace area on the north, east and south elevations. This open amenity is protected from the wind and driving rain by an extension of the office glazing system that provides a glass balustrade to the perimeter of the terrace.

Photo: Christian Richters

Visitors approaching the building will enter directly under the inclined soffit into an attractive reception complete with art wall, coloured glass cladding to stair core, and a specially designed tilted reception desk. The pod shaped retail unit is a key feature on the ground floor is.

Photo: Christian Richters

Photo: Christian Richters

Photo: Christian Richters

The elevators are clearly visible from the main reception at ground level and the core arrangement allows the building to be divided vertically and horizontally into a variety of separate office configurations.

The single point entry to the building and the central lift core, together with simple repetitive core layouts on every floor level, ensure that the building user and visitor will be able to quickly orientate themselves within the building.

Sketch courtesy SMC Alsop

Drawing courtesy SMC AlsopSite Plan
palestra_11.jpgDrawing courtesy SMC AlsopFirst Floor Plan
Drawing courtesy SMC AlsopFourth Floor Planpalestra_13.jpg
Drawing courtesy SMC AlsopLongitudinal Section

Drawing courtesy SMC AlsopCross Section

Facts about Palestra


Total area: 405,000 ft2
Net internal area: 295,000 ft2

SMC Alsop

Main contractor:


Structural engineer:

Buro Happold

Project manager:

CB Richard Ellis

M&E consultant:

Aukett Europe (contract stage)
Buro Happold (design stage)

Quantity Surveyor:

Faithful & Gould's

Letting agent:


Alsop Project team:
Will Alsop
Duncan Macaulay
Wolfgang Frese
Alison Sampson
Uwe Frohmader
Neil Pusey
Pooja Asher
Ala Pratt


Blackfriars Investments/ Royal London Asset Management

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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