Empire Square, Berkeley Homes (East Thames') flagship development in Borough, SE1 has received a Gold Standard in this year's Building for Life Awards. This prestigious award takes the Berkeley Group ahead of the game with seven Building for Life awards in the last six years, proving that volume housebuilders can deliver the highest quality design.
The Building for Life standard is the government-endorsed benchmark for well-designed housing and neighbourhoods in England. It is awarded to new housing projects that demonstrate a commitment to high design standards and good place making. The principles of quality and innovation in design, sustainable development and the creation of communities for today and tomorrow are at the heart of Berkeley's business.
Tony Pidgley, Managing Director of The Berkeley Group said: "Building for Life's commitment to quality in new housing closely mirrors what we hope to achieve with our own regeneration projects, which is why we are so proud to be the recipient of this Gold Award. Design excellence is a precious commodity, fundamental to the lasting success of any development, large or small. Our customers want to live in places that are not only attractive, but also appropriate to their setting and with a genuine and fitting sense of character. Getting this right is no easy task, but by paying close attention to a scheme's every unique subtlety, we are able to create places which inspire and where people really do want to make their lives. That is the real measure of success in regeneration, and is why CABE's promotion of excellence is such a benefit to all of us who care about the continuing renaissance of our towns and cities."
Empire Square showcases these principles in practice. The development is the transformation of one of the largest brownfield sites in London into a mixed-use scheme with 572 apartments and penthouses designed by architects Rolfe Judd. It incorporates private housing, which is now all sold except for one penthouse and affordable accommodation, set around a public square with cafes, restaurants and shops. The scheme comprises three buildings, one of which is a 22-storey high tower, forming the highest residential building in Borough. The architecture is sleek and contemporary and the tower is topped with a unique barometer controlled beacon, which changes colour depending on the barometric pressure, creating a new landmark for South London.
The judging panel commented: "The specification at Empire Square is absolutely fantastic; every material they have used will look just as good in 25 years." The Berkeley Group also won a Building for Life award for The Manor in Lower Eardley, Reading by St James (Thames Valley). The organisers of the awards programme hope that eventually the Building for Life standard will become embedded into the planning system as a benchmark for design quality, so that more developers will follow Berkeley's lead in making quality design widespread.