Earl’s Court masterplan revised to cut tower heights and number of homes

The initial vision for the 10ha plot, masterplanned by Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West, was revealed in February. It has been revised following ‘a detailed review of feedback’.

The latest version includes a 20 per cent increase in open space and a 10 per cent reduction in the amount of development, compared with the earlier plans. The original proposals included 4,500 new homes. This has dipped to ‘around 4,000’ in the latest version, which has now gone out to a further round of consultation.

There has also been a decrease in the number of buildings taller than the existing Stone, Toms & Partners-designed 1962 Empress State Building.

The team had originally planned to build four towers higher than the 31-storey police offices but the latest proposals now feature just one building taller than the Empress State – a 42-storey tower designed by Sheppard Robson, Serie Architects and dRMM, which is being billed as ‘a way-finder and destination landmark’.

According to the ECDC, 60 per cent of the masterplan will become new urban and public spaces – including The Table – on the site of the former Earls Court exhibition centre demolished in 2015  – a community green and cascading water features.

As well as housing, shops, events spaces and leisure uses, the scheme will provide 232,000m² of workspace at three locations: Warwick Square, Empress Place and West Kensington.

The scheme also features a ‘new ecological corridor’ running across the site from West Brompton, allowing visitors to enter from the station directly into the park.

Hawkins\Brown and Studio Egret West were appointed as masterplanners after earlier proposals by Farrells were not delivered; only Lillie Square, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and Pilbrow & Partners in 2016, was ever built.

Designs for the individual buildings in the masterplan will be unveiled at a later date, the ECDC says. Stirling Prize-winning architects Haworth Tompkins, dRMM and Maccreanor Lavington were selected last November to bring forward those plans.

The ECDC is delivering the plans on behalf of the Earls Court Partnership Limited – a joint venture formed in late 2019 between Delancey, Dutch pension fund manager APG and Transport for London.

ECDC chief executive Rob Heasman said: ‘Our plans have progressed and benefited from continued open dialogue with a broad spectrum of community groups and stakeholders as we bring forward a new piece of city that will have wide-reaching benefits for London.

‘Whether you live here, work here or visit here, this will be a place designed for everyone, that brings joy to everyday life.’

A hybrid planning application is expected to be submitted in mid-2024. Work on the initial phase of development will start in 2026, delivering more than 1,000 homes, the first cultural and commercial buildings and the park.

First phase: teams for detailed design work

  • Sheppard Robson with Serie Architects and dRMM will deliver the first phase within Hammersmith & Fulham, linking it to the neighbouring West Kensington and Gibbs Green Estates and the Empress State building. 
  • ACME will be responsible for an office building at the key entrance to the site on Warwick Road in Kensington & Chelsea, recreating a sense of arrival from Earl’s Court Station.  
  • Haworth Tompkins and Maccreanor Lavington will collaborate to bring forward the first homes within Kensington & Chelsea, including a significant cultural offer, located at the heart of the site.