Grand Union Building

The design for the Grand Union Building forms part of an overall masterplan for 10 acres of largely vacant and underused land to the north of Paddington Basin, which terminates the Grand Union Canal. Strategically the site is at the heart of the largest designated regeneration area in Central London, within walking distance of excellent public transport connections.  Seeking to enhance the original first phase masterplan submitted by the Terry Farrell Partnership, RRP reinforced the rhythm and variety of urban spaces and experiences immediately adjacent to the basin towpath, creating pedestrian routes which inform the footprints of the proposed buildings, spaces and bridge links across the basin.  Generous space is provided for canal barges and other watercraft, while varied building uses will sustain day-long, year round activity.

The project was conceived as a substantial mixed-use development with a significant proportion of commercial accommodation, creating a high quality ‘landmark’ building.  Designed as a defining symbol and marker for the whole 80-acre Paddington Regeneration Area, the project is intended to be a pre-eminent example of high-density brownfield development. The initial massing strategy for the project consisted of a high-rise element in the form of three towers of 24, 32 and 40 floors, rising to a height of 164 metres. After concerns were raised by Westminster City Council regarding the height and the perceived impact on the wider metropolitan skyline, a height guideline of 100 metres was introduced, necessitating a reassessment of the proposal.

Adhering to the new height guideline, RRP’s revised scheme for the Grand Union Building reflects the detailed site analysis prepared for the earlier proposals and responds sympathetically and imaginatively to neighbouring street patterns and varying urban grain. Where the previous proposal relied upon an imposing profile, the new design offers a more urban solution, a new element of urban fabric woven into the Paddington area, taking its scale from the adjacent buildings.

Project data
Location London, England
Type Mixed Use
Type Office
Type Residential
Type Retail
Dates 1999 - 2004
Site Area 122,000m² (97,000m² above ground)
Gross Internal Area 11,400m²
Net Lettable Area 80,000m²
Number of Floors 30
Total Cost £218,000,000
Client PDCL (Paddington Development
  Corporation Ltd) / Chelsfield plc
The Architect Richard Rogers Partnership
Andy Bryce, Maxine Campbell, Martin Cook, Mike Fairbrass, Angela Gates, Russell Gilchrist, Jan Güell, Mark Hallett, Stephen Light, John McElgunn, Annette Main, Tim Mason, Jon Mercer, David Merlie, Andrew Morris, Richard Rogers, Patricia Sendin, Marita Schnepper, Kish Sohal, Graham Stirk, Jo Walters, Simon Williams-Gunn,Will Wilmshurst, Martin White, Andrew Yek
Landscape Architect Gillespies
Project Manager Mace
Quantity Surveyor Davis Langdon & Everest
Services Engineer Cundell Johnston & Partners
Structural Engineer Pell Frischmann