In the heart of London’s West End, the Charlotte Building sits immediately adjacent to the Hanway Street Conservation Area and is subject to strict height constraints due to its situation in one of London’s strategic viewing corridors.
While the street pattern dates back to the 16th century, the immediate area is comprehensively redeveloped: Gresse Street is characterised by 19th and 20th century buildings of 6-7 storeys, while Rathbone Place is characterised by 4-5 storey semi-industrial Victorian buildings. The design responds to the context with a strong modern architectural statement, responsive to Westminster’s market demands.
While striking enough to signpost the client’s intentions of regeneration, the curved façade respects the historic building lines and the landscaping enhances the laneways of the conservation area. Structure and design have made it possible to hide plant in the basement, and the top storey is set back from the street line, permitting a roof terrace on the sixth floor.
The façade has been designed to balance technical and aesthetic criteria and create a dynamic and delicate skin. Each façade has been finely balanced to give the correct percentage of solid to glazed areas to meet requirements for daylighting and control of solar gain whilst creating a taut glass skin of horizontal bands externally. A subtle articulation in façade depth emphasises the horizontal banding of the skin and relates to the punched windows of neighbouring buildings. The building completed in November 2010 and is now home to a lively mix of young technology and design companies.