NEO BANKSIDE, SOUTH BANK, LONDON
Neo-Bankside, designed by Richard Rogers’ firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, exhibits his trademark bright colours, engineered external structure, lift-shafts borrowed from commercial development, glass and careful detailing. Completed in 2012, the development comprises four diamond-shaped residential pavilions and a fifth corner block behind Tate Modern on London’s South Bank. Neo Bankside is Rogers addition to the continuing development of London’s South Bank at Southwark; alongside there are 18th-century almshouses set around a formal landscaped garden, CZWG’s 16-storey loft development and Allies and Morrison’s Blue Fin building.
The diagonal structural bracing is external so that the internal floorplates are flexible; as a result massive pieces of engineered steel are placed across apartment windows. RSH+P has established a diagonal walkway grid reinforcing the existing roads and giving form to the footprint of the pavilion structures. By spreading accommodation across five buildings and moving the blocks east new views towards the Tate are opened up from the south. A new strip of soft landscaping will also be developed, running north-south alongside the almshouses.
Neo Bankside embodies the kind of remaking of London as a civilised public spaces surrounded by beautiful buildings which Rogers has advocated for some time. Neo Bankside seems consistent with his vision: brownfield, dense, permeable, mixed use, near to the riverfront and transport hubs and built to high standards.