SPPARC starts construction on The Kite, a mixed-use development in the heart of Elephant and Castle

Construction has started on The Kite in Newington Causeway, a 143,915 ft² mixed-use scheme in the heart of Elephant and Castle designed by SPPARC. The transformation of the site will involve replacing disused garage buildings with a 25-storey tower comprising of a 140-room hotel, 48 one, two and three-bedroom apartments; including 35% on-site affordable housing.

The first of several tall buildings currently being developed by SPPARC, the scheme will include active retail frontage at ground floor level, with generous new landscaping and public realm for the community and residents.

Designed to achieve a BREEAM excellent rating, the scheme will include a new pedestrian route through the site linking Newington Causeway with Tiverton Street, creating an attractive and animated streetscape that responds to the future aspirations for Elephant and Castle, as set out by the London Borough of Southwark.

The site has a narrow principal frontage onto Newington Causeway of only 9m whilst expanding to a 49m frontage onto Tiverton Street.  The triangular shape of the site presented the opportunity for SPPARC to create an Interesting geometric object.  The kite form of the tower is informed by the angle of the building’s sharp point, and its relationship to Newington Causeway.

The Kite is designed in two parts: a street building podium and a tower. Each corner of the kite will be defined by either a winter garden or open balcony to provide a continuous vertical form that contrasts with the horizontal and vertical appearance of the ceramic façade. Glazed window panels and staggered perforated filigree screens will articulate the façade to bring a richness in texture and pattern. The filigree screen pattern, is inspired by the molecular experiments undertaken by the famous British scientist, Michael Faraday. Faraday, who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry, is well known in the area. Born in Newington Butts, his memorial at the Elephant and Castle roundabout houses an electricity substation for the tube.

The building’s podium will provide human scale whilst referencing the strong horizontal language and weight of the railway viaduct that runs the length of the new pedestrian street between Newington Causeway and Tiverton Street.  As the building rises, the cladding treatment to the uppermost three storeys of the scheme becomes lighter to crown the top of the building. Colour plays a vital role and is used to define the differing internal functions of the building through subtle gradation from the podium upwards.  The selected palette of greens and yellows has been inspired by the seasonal change and colour variation found within the nearby Newington Gardens.

Design officers at the planning committee from The London Borough of Southwark commented that the approach has been successful in creating a generous public realm and true sense of place at ground level that will meaningfully connect Newington Causeway into Tiverton Street.

The development will generate further employment opportunities and will encourage people to live and visitors to stay in the Elephant and Castle area.

Trevor Morriss, Principal at SPPARC, said:

“The redevelopment of this long-underutilised site Is an Important part of the transformation of the area into one of London’s key commercial, residential and education hubs. By addressing the poor public realm, replacing the existing poor-quality buildings, facilitating the reuse of the railway arches and resolving access, we aim to positively contribute to making the Elephant & Castle a place where people want to study, work, visit and live.”