Paddington Pole

In March 2016, Create Streets launched a competition to find a new high-quality alternative scheme for Paddington. The competition came after the proposal by Great Western Developments Ltd for the ‘Paddington Pole’ was withdrawn. It has been judged by local residents and councillors. This was a plan for a 72-storey skyscraper designed by Renzo Piano next door to Paddington rail station on 0.76 hectares of land on and around the old Royal Mail site.  We believed the site was worth thinking about strategically. It is a crucial area of London next to one of the city’s most important train stations and it is in close proximity to housing, conservation areas, historic buildings and Royal Parks.


The Results

On the 18th July 2016 we celebrated the winning and commended designs with a mini-exhibition and awards presented by Sir Simon Jenkins. A blog with photos can be found here, whilst full details of the awards, quotes from judges can be found here. JTP’s page on the ceremony is here.

Paddington Pole Competition prize-winners: “An Embarrassment of Riches!”

Due to the very high quality set of entries, Create Streets have chosen to recognise four of the entries with two prizes and two commendations. Collectively these designs show that having a huge Paddington Pole-style Tower is not necessary for this site. The area around Paddington Station can have both high density and beauty. Looking at the site strategically, and masterplanning it to make it a popular and great place, is entirely feasible. Towers are not necessary to achieve great, popular, high-density places and streets.

The Streets Prize

Given to the entries by JTP/Civic Voice and AR Urbanism / Greysmith Associates, for the high quality of their urban design. JTP / Civic Voice were also strongly commended for the attempts in a very short time frame at community engagement.

JTP / Civic Voice JTP / Civic Voice
AR Urbanism / Greysmith Associates AR Urbanism / Greysmith Associates
The Flourish Award

Awarded to Architettori for the striking nature of their architecture and the comprehensive realisation of the facades above all on Praed Street. Architettori were also commended for their thought on transport issues particularly pedestrian flows, the Bakerloo line ticket office and a Praed Street bus stop integrated canopy. 

The Innovation Award

Awarded to HLM*Spark for many of the individual ideas within their plan and the inclusion of multiple community considerations, particularly the primary school and also urban farming elements. They very cleverly went beyond the brief.

HLM*Spark HLM*Spark

Full applications and more photos from the winning entries are available here.

More information and quotes from the judges available here.

Winners were featured in The Evening StandardBuilding Design and the local media (West End Extra).

What did the judges look for?

In short – something that will be popular with residents whilst providing new homes. Judges will be basing their decision on the following criteria:

  • A street-based design that fitted in with (though does not need slavishly to follow) the surrounding streets.
  • It had to be viable and be able to support improvements to the tube station. A minimum density of 177 homes / hectare to deliver the same number of homes as the ‘Pole’.
  • In addition the total capacity for hospital use on the site should be retained (we estimated this at about 15,600m2). We also encouraged maintenance of existing commercial or hotel use.
  • We encouraged entrants to read the Westminster Tall Building Strategy (p. 508) and their policy for the Paddington Area (pp.34-6)
  • Any evidence that the scheme was popular with residents, had been worked up with residents, or was likely to be popular with residents, would be well received.
  • The proposal did not have to remove all buildings – in fact we encouraged proposals that reused or added to existing buildings wherever humanly possible.
  • Core numbers showing how much development there was (so called Gross Internal Area or GIA).
  • We were also keen to see proposed facades. What might it look like and feel like at human level?

You can see the full details here. You can download a set of plans of the site as it is now here

Our Paddington Pole competition has been featured in The Evening StandardBuilding DesignArchitects’ Journal and in Get West London.