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Sweco delivers sustainability to the South Bank in UK’s first major fossil-fuel-free project at Bankside Yards

Hidden for more than 150 years, a row of Victorian railway arches will be restored to become the focal point of a £2.5 billion development on London’s South Bank, where they will form the heart of a commercial, retail, cultural and residential hub as part of Native Land’s 5.5 acre ‘Bankside Yards’ riverside scheme.

Consisting of 14 brick viaduct arches, originally built in 1864, the new development’s centrepiece will house shops, restaurants and performance spaces to create a ‘new village high street’ running through what will be a ‘five-start urban resort’. Sweco is proud to be providing building services, vertical transportation (lifts and escalators) and Sustainability consultancy not only on the arches, but for the whole of the Bankside Yards development. The first phase of the Bankside Yards project, an office block called Arbor (or Building 3) is due for completion in summer 2022 and construction is about to start on the 48-storey residential tower (BY2) later this year too.

Bankside Yards will ultimately be a major 1.4m sq ft ‘hyper-mixed’ development, with a vision to reconnect the space between the Tate Modern and one of London’s major transport hubs, Blackfriars Station. The London Borough of Southwark will also benefit from a substantial contribution towards further housing within the Borough. In total the development will include eight buildings with 350,000 sq ft of office space, around 30 new bars, restaurants and shop, about 700 new homes and a 150 room hotel.

Sustainability first  – and a first for sustainability

With climate action as its foundation, the mixed-use development at Bankside Yards is set to be the UK’s first major fossil-fuels-free regeneration project with zero emissions in operation. The site ultimately aims to improve the environment, health and wellbeing of the occupants, create jobs, facilitate economic growth and increase the strength of the community, to deliver enhanced social value.

Credit: www.banksideyards.com/sustainability

At Bankside Yards we are using energy-efficient technology on an unprecedented scale, aiming to set a new benchmark for sustainability in large, mixed-use regeneration schemes. This is part of an integrated, site-wide, multi-building strategy for carbon reduction and biodiversity.

Alasdair Nicholls Chief Executive of Native Land

Sweco’s sustainability expertise will play a central role in Native Land’s climate goals in Southwark (SE1). Bankside Yards will be served by a low-temperature, all-electric ‘5th Generation’ energy strategy on a scale not yet seen in the UK, to serve thermal energy across all of its eight new buildings and the restored railway arches. Each building will utilise heat pump technology to ‘extract’ or ‘reject’ energy to serve the thermal loads of the buildings, significantly reducing operational energy.

The use of all-electric energy using heat pumps, optimised façades and high-efficiency building services systems, combined with Native Land’s commitment to a green energy purchasing agreement, will achieve Net Zero carbon in operation.

A central square, east-west pedestrian links, a north-south promenade, an interface with the new south entrance concourse of the redeveloped Blackfriars Station and new openings through the viaduct itself will help to connect the site to the wider network of streets and transport facilities. This vibrant public realm responds to the identity and character of the neighbourhood and defines a hierarchy of distinct functions, exploring opportunities to redevelop and merge open space with areas dedicated to play and creativity.

Overall, the redevelopment will create a varied and active precinct for residents by encouraging economic growth and enriching the world-renowned arts and cultural instituations and thriving performing arts venues nearby. The rail viaduct, a key remnant of Southwark’s rich industrial heritage, is integral to the development. The distinct arches, which frame views along surrounding streets, will be transformed in a manner that celebrates their spatial qualities to create further cultural and retail amenities.

Sweco contacts for this project


Project Director: Giovanni Festa

Project Manager: Peter Holmes

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