Piccadilly Circus (One Sherwood Street)  Landsec

We are working on one of London’s iconic sites, Piccadilly Circus, where 104 million people pass by every year. In 2016 we won planning permission for a scheme to redevelop the 24-hour city block that is bounded by Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue’s Theatreland, Soho’s Denman Street and Sherwood Street. It hosts the world’s most famous advertising billboard, Piccadilly Lights, which is part of national life and appears on every tourist itinerary.

The site had been a planning conundrum for more than 60 years and a series of design proposals had failed to gain planning consent. The space behind the Piccadilly Lights has been empty since the 1950s. In 2012 Europe’s largest property company, Landsec, asked us to come up with a design that could turn the apparently unusable space behind the lights into creative workspace, attractive shops and residential buildings while keeping the lights and existing shops fully operational throughout.

The scheme, which will have the address One Sherwood Street, won plaudits from Westminster Council. It solves a jigsaw puzzle of uses and apparently contradictory interests, with a playful, rational approach that belies the complexity of the site. A folding geometric skin of ceramic tiles lightly envelopes the site, while a roof-top landscape of workspaces will open onto terraces with breath-taking views across central London.

Our proposal enhances the character of original buildings on the site and improves the public realm. A winter garden for the offices behind the advertising billboard, will bring in natural light from above and make the space useable once more. A roof truss hangs the new office building over the existing shops and a distinctive folding roof-scape will be made from point mesh covered with thousands of mass-crafted, glazed ceramic mouldings.