Minerva House, a scheme by Ben Adams Architects for Great Portland Estates, will see the reinvention of a prominent 12,300 sqm office building in Southwark, to provide a characterful new office space south of the river and near Borough market. The project, adjacent to the Grade 1 listed Southwark Cathedral will be an exemplary net zero retrofit.
The existing building will undergo a complete redesign of its envelope, massing and internal circulation, with new facades facing Southwark Cathedral and Montague Close. The redevelopment plan will retain 70% of the existing building fabric and improve its energy efficiency, resulting in an additional 6,454 sqm of gross internal area. Some of the space will be dedicated to local entrepreneurship and community development.
As the development is situated within the Borough High Street Conservation area, Minerva House will a unique opportunity to revitalize underutilized public spaces surrounding Southwark Cathedral. A new pedestrian “cut-through” will be established along the east-west ‘Jubilee Walkway’ route, improving accessibility and connectivity. The Jubilee Walkway will be further enhanced by the addition of a peaceful public garden on Montague Close, providing an area of tranquillity, complementing the existing pocket gardens.
Ben Adams Architects’ design will improve the relationship of the building to the river. The design seeks to redefine the building’s relationship with the River Thames. The distinctive yellow brick structure will be transformed with a new façade that combines low carbon stone and brick fins alongside carefully designed glazing. A new entrance space will provide panoramic river views, while set-back floors on the ground and first levels will accommodate a riverside arcade, improving accessibility and showcasing the area’s industrial heritage. The new shops and cafes will further invigorate the streetscape.
Minerva House will provide high-quality, flexible, and inclusive office spaces, with the ground floor offering retail options, food establishments, and co-working spaces. The middle floors will cater to traditional office environments, and a two-storey pavilion will provide expansive terraces for year-round use, preserving neighbouring amenities and contributing to local biodiversity.
The project is expected to start in 2023, with completion anticipated in 2026.