‘Significant environmental impact’: Heritage group criticises plans for landmark Islington office block

Angel Square. Image: Google

A heritage group has hit out at plans to redevelop a landmark Islington office block which it said could have “a significant environmental impact”.

The 1980s Angel Square besides the Northern line tube station could see its distinctive stone facade and clock tower replaced with a glass-fronted block over the ticket hall at Angel Station.

Plans would see part of the building pulled down and two new floors put in to house offices and shops.

Award-winning AHMM Architects – the team behind the Holloway Prison designs – have come up with a new design featuring prominent glass windows, replacing the post-modern stone and brick facade of the landmark building at the busy Angel crossroads.

It will turn three buildings into one, including office space above the Tube station.

Developer Tishman Speyer said it wants to “regenerate an existing, prominent site and piece of city in central London, transforming and re-imagining the building as a piece of exemplar architectural and sustainable design so as to contribute to a much improved sense of ‘gateway’ to Angel”.

It aims to “reinvent” the building on the corner of Islington High Street and Torrens Street and said the distinctive facade is reaching the end of its “intended design life”.

The Twentieth Century Society said: “The complete removal of the brick and stone facade and all decorative elements, with the resulting demolition having a significant environmental impact.”

It criticised the design, saying developers should come up with a more “understated” solution to energy efficiency issues and modern needs from an office block.

The heritage group wants Angel Square to be given Non-Designated Heritage Asset (NDHA) status and called for “a more sympathetic and sustainable scheme”.

The building is opposite the 1899 Grade II-listed Angel Corner House and near to AHMM’s Angel Building.

The new design “will create a new identity” for the landmark building, it said, with aims “to regenerate the existing site as a contemporary, flexible development of high architectural quality”.

It includes greener plant equipment and locks in “a significant amount” of the building’s carbon by keeping the frame and basement.

According to the UN environment programme, construction makes up 38 per cent of carbon, which is contributing to the climate crisis.

The plans also move the poorly lit path that links the High Street to Torrens Street during office hours to encourage people to use it more.

Currently, there are three 1990s buildings around a courtyard that together with four and five story office blocks  and a distinctive clock  tower designed by Rock Townsend and Alan Murray Associates. It was given planning permission 34 years ago.

The applicant said it had an “inefficient” layout, was hard to navigate and branded the architectural style as “dated, is of poor repair and has a defensive
presence in its public realm”.