Your dream London address
European property developers Almacantar began the refurbishment of London’s iconic Centre Point building in January. The building’s office space will be transformed into 82 apartments and penthouses along with retail and restaurant space centred around a brand new public square at the base of the building. The project, due for completion in 2017, will do nothing short of create a new hub for the city. Here are eight reasons why we think it’s worth the hype.
1 | Rebooting an icon
The Richard Seifert-designed landmark was the tallest building in London at 34 floors when it was built in the 1960s. “At that time it was an icon of London,” says Tim Bowder-Ridger, managing director of Conran & Partners, the firm leading the tower refurbishment. “Some people called it pop art because it was a brave design for its time. Everyone recognised it as a symbol of the Swinging Sixties in Great Britain, and when you look at the graphic of the building, it fits into precisely that ethos. It speaks of the pop art movement and was atypical of the Brutalist era that this period was known for, such as institutions like the National Theatre. The honeycomb façade that we’re now so familiar with was also a feat of engineering.”
2 | A new international hub
With the completion of Crossrail, a new, high frequency railway line for London will be available, with rapid, direct access to Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf (12 mins to Canary Wharf and 28 mins to Heathrow respectively). ”You could leave your apartment in Dubai or Honk Kong, fly to Heathrow and catch the Crossrail right to the base of your building,” says Bowder-Ridger. “Access has never been so easy in an bustling international city. You can quite literally phone the concierge and have everything organised for you. The whole concept of city living is changing and there’s a recognition that people are moving. So we have identified that change and accommodated it.”
3 | And a very nice local ‘hood
In this bold new venture, the road passing through and under the Centre Point Link Bridge will be removed, with a new pedestrian square taking its place. Shops and restaurants around the building’s perimeter will offer places for residents and visitors to congregate, a mere stone’s throw from London’s most popular central spots. “We’re trying to connect Centre Point to the city, as was the original concept in the 1960s, but it wasn’t achieved back then,” says architect Gavin Miller. “It was a flawed icon that created an island around itself instead,” adds Kathrin Hersel, Development Director of Almacantar. With this in mind, a pedestrian bridge will connect the plaza directly to Oxford Street, providing a a natural ‘hub’ between four of London’s most creative and cultural areas: Soho, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia – all only a few minutes’ walk away.
4 | Panoramic views
The tallest buildings in the West End area are ten stories and planning laws ensure that nothing can be built around Centre Point in the future, so the panoramic views will remain that way. The views from any of the apartments are fantastic but the penthouse will enjoy uninterrupted 360 degree views across Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and The Shard. “It’s a signpost for the whole of West London, you can see it everywhere and it’s a landmark in its own airspace,” says Bowder-Ridger.
5 | Apartment layouts
“It was deeply flawed as an office building because the floor space is relatively small, but this lends itself perfectly to residential use,” says Bowder-Ridger. “The beauty of this layout is that the structure is all outside facing. The top floor apartments will have a whole floor to themselves. All apartments from half way up have east and west views.
6 | Amazing interiors
Richard Wentworth is creating art for the lounge area And Cerith Wyn Evans is also designing a light installation for the reception. “This will be visible from the outside so people can see what’s happening but residents can see and touch it,” says Kathrin Hersel. Geometric patterns by Eley Kishimoto will weave their way throughout the soft furnishings in the club area, inspired by the building’s honeycomb facade and also in the lift interiors. Finally, bespoke stone flooring completes the upscale look.
7 | Hotel benefits
Centre Point has been kitted out with the facilities you’d expect from a top hotel. There’s a cinema, business facilities, viewing room, bar, sitting room and rooms to hire for parties and meetings. A 30-metre swimming pool runs the whole length of the building, making it the longest pool in a residential building in London and a gym and treatment rooms.
8 | Bargain investment (sort of)
The starting price for a two-bed is Dhs17.6 million, rising to Dhs316 million for the penthouse.