SMC Alsop, London, 2006


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The Palestra House stands opposite MacCormac's Southwark station and forms an effective end-stop to The Cut 

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  • The Palestra House stands opposite MacCormac    
  • The Palestra House    
  • Abstract design on glazed glass facade    
  • Elevation- the main floors appear to rest on Alsop-esque legs    
  • Seventh storey terrace    
  • View from the seventh storey terrace    
  • Railway lines enclose the site to the north and east    
  • The low rise setting offers views over central London    
  • Railway lines enclose the site to the north and east    
  • The entrance; Kate Dineen    
  • Vividly coloured entrance on the ground floor     
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Forth floor plan    
  • Seventh floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Short section    
  • South elevation    
  • Palestra sketch    
  • Detail through glass in area requiring acoustic control    
  • Detail through glass showing coatings and specification    
  • Body-tinted glass and coloured perforated mesh    
  • Partially fritted glass panels    
  • Body-tinted glass and glazed fritted spandrel    

Office building with retail and restaurant space at ground level; the unusual shape is supported by a steel frame with concrete slabs on metal decking

The office comprises flexible floor plates, which can be used in open plan or cellular formats. They are arranged in two distinct planes, separated by an open level of ‘social space’. At the west end of the building the upper box is offset from the lower, and assumes a three-storey-deep 7.5m cantilever over Blackfriar's Road.

At street level, the building is open with the floors above supported by composite columns. The columns are constructed using two reinforcing tubes filled with concrete and have been designed to meet European construction codes.

The facade makes use of advanced glazing technology, and incorporates an abstract pattern that is impermeably bonded into the individual glass sheets. The use of strong form and vivid colour is mirrored in the interior, artwork by Kate Dineen, sloping surfaces and ceiling concaves are all features of the interior design.


  • Begun: Nov 2003
  • Completed: Jan 2006
  • Floor area: 37,400m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £140M
  • Tender date: Sep 2003
  • Procurement: JCT with Contractor's Design incorporating Amendments 1, 2 and 3 and special client amendments
  • Address: Palestra House, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ, United Kingdom

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