The Kensington Building

In 2015, AshbyCapital commissioned Pilbrow & Partners to prepare redevelopment proposals for 127 Kensington High Street at the corner of Kensington High Street and Wrights Lane. The proposals remodelled the bleak 1970s building to transform the quality of its architecture, public realm and internal working environment.

Date
2022

Client
AshbyCapital

Location
Kensington, London

Gross Floor Area
N/A

Status
Complete

Our proposals restored the historic street line on Wrights Lane and remodel, through a two-storey roof extension, the upper levels of the façade to deliver a traditional tripartite façade of base, body and attic.

The mixed-use building now provides next generation office space. There is alsoimprove connectivity to Kensington High Street Underground station through the creation of a new retail arcade.

The retail in the original 1970s building was poorly configured and routes to the adjacent Kensington High Street Underground Station were informal through the ground floor Boots unit.

The building was recognised as being of low architectural quality and its large, blank ground floor frontages detracted from the public realm along Wrights Lane. The orthogonal planning of the existing building broke the alignment of the historic street wall, leaving awkward residual spaces.

Pilbrow & Partners' design restored the definition of the urban block with new facades of Roman brick and Portland Stone. The building scale along this frontage is modulated as a series of bays - a remediation of the relentless mass of the existing building and a restoration of its civic nature.

The design remodelled the existing 1970s building to deliver an appropriate architectural response to this prominent site on Kensington High Street. Historically Kensington High Street boasted three famous department stores, Barkers, Derry & Toms and Pontings - the latter was located on this site prior to its closure when the existing building was constructed.

The architecture of the surviving department stores to the east - both listed - provided reference to the elevational approach with a restored hierarchy of base, body and attic elements. The detail and depth of the elevations in a white Roman Brick echo the Portland Stone facades of the listed neighbouring buildings.

The revised office space provides better quality workspace, benefiting from improved accessibility, flexibility, environmental performance and a high proportion of external space. The existing office entrances have been consolidated into a single new lobby on Wrights Lane set on axis with Iverna Court.

This entrance connects to a new core set on the eastern elevation that serves floor plates that are well lit, well-proportioned and capable of flexible subdivision. The upper floors are set back from Wrights Lane, creating generous external terraces on the upper floors.