26 Feb 2024

Plans submitted for Cornerstone, a co-living retrofit designed by AHMM, in the City of London

We have submitted plans for a co-living-led development at 45 Beech Street in the City of London, in partnership with Bridges Fund Management. The scheme, known as 'Cornerstone' would deliver 174 co-living homes as well as new public realm, a ground-floor commercial space and on-site resident amenities.

Designed by Stirling Prize-winning practice Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), the proposal for Cornerstone would transform a 1950s office building into a community-focused residential scheme that responds sensitively and creatively to the context of the iconic Barbican Estate.

The development would set a new standard in this part of London for co-living. This rapidly evolving typology can deliver numerous benefits both to residents and to people who live and work nearby, thanks to public realm improvements and a range of shared amenities that connect the scheme to its community.

In line with HUB and Bridges’ shared focus on minimising carbon emissions, the proposed scheme would take a retrofit-first approach. The total embodied carbon saving of retrofitting the existing building is 34%, relative to a comparable new build scheme of the same scale. The scheme would also target market-leading sustainability credentials: BREEAM Excellent, EPC A, Fitwel 3* and Net Zero operational carbon.

The scheme was developed in close collaboration with the local community and key neighbourhood stakeholders. The consultation process involved a series of stakeholder workshops, consultation events and outreach to Barbican residents as well as the local business community.

These plans build on HUB and Bridges’ record of delivering well-designed, sustainable, community-led residential schemes, and follow its first co-living project in Hammersmith and Fulham, in partnership with Women’s Pioneer Housing, which has now commenced on site.

Tom Stoneham, Senior Development Manager at HUB, said:

“The opportunity to develop a scheme adjacent to the most iconic residential development in London is hugely exciting. The Barbican pioneered city centre living, and our proposed scheme seeks to continue this legacy, providing a new kind of residential offering for the area.”

“Our proposals would reinvigorate an existing building at risk of becoming a stranded asset, demonstrating the potential for new models like co-living to not only bring new homes to city centres, but also to minimise carbon emissions by giving new life to tired office buildings.”

Celia Harrison, Director at Bridges Fund Management, said:
“This ambitious co-living development would not only help to tackle the dearth of high-quality rental accommodation in London; it would also bring an under-occupied building back into economic use and make it more environmentally efficient, supporting the decarbonisation of the built environment. Co-living is becoming increasingly popular across Europe, providing much-needed sustainable housing in urban locations. We’re excited about the potential of our proposals at Beech Street to help address the clear shortage of homes in the City.”

Hazel Joseph, Director at AHMM, said:
“Building on the success of our previous London projects with HUB, we are joining forces again to transform an under loved office building in the heart of the city. The architectural approach has been carefully considered, responding sensitively to the much-loved Barbican context, completing the northern frontage of the estate. The existing structure of 45 Beech Street will be re-used and extended, creating a new residential community with shared amenities and breathing new life into the local streetscape.”

Read more in React, Property Week, Costar, EG, BTR News, Architects Journal, Dezeen, Time Out