Pontifex Wharf follows Evans Granary, completed in 2009, the first of four new and refurbished buildings proposed in Cullinan Studio's masterplan for Winchester Square, which is at the heart of a conservation area.
We wanted to restore the integrity of the urban fabric of a part of London whose history spans centuries - from 13th century Winchester Palace to the 19th century industrial architecture of wharfs, warehouses and railways.
A thorough investigation of the site's structural history revealed layers of archaeology stretching back to Roman and mediaeval times. We designed a substructure that was as unobstrusive as possible within the Scheduled Ancient Monument of Winchester Palace. By using the existing concrete foundations of a demolished 1960s building, only minimal additional substructure was needed for five storeys of relatively lightweight construction.
The modest scale and simple design of Pontifex Wharf reflects the history around it. The building's footprint maintains the historic building line - but we have set back the ground and first floors to create a new passageway through to Winchester Square, restoring a route visible in a 1799 plan.
Bringing back this pedestrian link between Stoney Street and Winchester Square improves the permeability of the area and will also help enliven Winchester Square.
The height, massing, scale and materials of Pontifex Wharf reflect Bankside's historic character. The elevation along Stoney Street - with its brick clad façade - is supported on a brick colonnade, the scale of which responds to the brick arches of the railway viaduct on the other side of the street. The canyon-like streetscape of Stoney Street is retained. Deep set punched hole windows evoke the original warehouses.
The pavement on the east side of Stoney Street is very narrow. Entrances to the retail units have therefore been set back within the colonnade which creates a wider pavement.