Native Land and Transport for London (TfL) has submitted plans to sensitively repair and enhance South Kensington Tube station buildings and the surrounding streets, providing new homes, workspace, shops, and completing the delivery of step-free access to the Circle & District lines.
As the gateway to London’s internationally renowned museum and cultural quarter, South Kensington Station is one of London’s busiest, with around 34 million passengers, including residents, workers, tourists, concert goers, university students, school children and hospital patients travelling through the station every year.
The proposals, developed in partnership with Transport for London (TfL) and designed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, follow extensive consultation with local residents and other key stakeholders, including three public exhibitions as well as five pop-up stalls at the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College London and the South Kensington Station subway.
The plans have been carefully considered in order to respect, and respond to, the unique and important heritage of the area, with historic building specialist Julian Harrap Architects working on heritage elements of the scheme.
Overall the proposals aim to:
- Sensitively repair and enhance the Grade-II listed South Kensington station, restoring the historic arcade to its former glory and providing new retail opportunities
- Incorporate 50 homes around the station, including 35% on-site affordable, in high quality buildings that have been designed to respond to their context
- Develop a finely crafted four storey building at the front of the station, referred to as ‘The Bullnose’ because of its unique shape, that will give the station an enhanced presence at the heart of South Kensington. The ground floor will provide retail opportunities, while upper levels will offer workspace
- Provide a new station entrance on Thurloe Street
- Provide step free access to the ticket hall and completing the delivery of step free access to the Circle and District line platforms as well as providing better accessibility into the subway from the station. This will improve access for wheelchair users, parents with buggies and other passengers with mobility issues
- Complement TfL’s separate station enhancement plans that received listed building consent from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in 2018.
Alasdair Nicholls, chief executive Native Land, said: “Our proposals will provide contemporary architecture of the highest quality that respects its unique historical context, providing new homes, including 35% affordable housing, and a contemporary range of shops, restaurants and workspaces. We have listened carefully to feedback on our plans and believe this is a considered scheme that responds sensitively to its context. It will help bring a renewed sense of place to South Kensington, befitting its status as the gateway to London’s internationally renowned museum and cultural quarter.”
Scott Anderson, Senior Property Development Manager at Transport for London said: “The proposals to enhance South Kensington, which build on extensive consultations, embrace the unique and historic setting as well as the station’s role as a gateway to some of the most important and treasured cultural institutions in the world. The development will protect the heritage of the Tube station and provide new affordable homes as well as upgraded retail opportunities and commercial space, while generating vital revenue to reinvest in the transport network.”
Tracy Meller, Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners said: “These proposals build on the existing legacy of refined architecture in the area and provide for buildings of a scale, massing and carefully considered design that are sympathetic to the surrounding townscape. We have carefully studied the historic context of the station and surrounding area and our designs aim to repair and enhance the streetscape, which is no longer in its best condition following the development of the railway over the past century and a half. This is a unique opportunity to enhance the area around South Kensington Tube station to serve both the immediate community, but also the millions of visitors who enjoy London’s world-renowned museum and cultural quarter.”