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The reality - case studies


As part of our research into the idea of building homes over municipal buildings to help alleviate London’s housing crisis, we were excited to find examples, home and away, of the idea working successfully.  

 WSP’s towering success in New York

The approach of developing homes above municipal buildings recently provided New York with 898 luxury new residential units, a public school and space for hospital offices, all wrapped up in a classic 76-story Manhattan skyscraper, the Beekman Tower

  • Completed in February 2011 in New York with WSP as structural engineers
  • In an agreement with New York education officials, the tower’s developer Forest City Ratner agreed to incorporate the school into the project
  • Forest City was responsible for the construction of the school and the Department of Education then bought the building from the developer

Line up for the new Plimsoll building, King’s Cross, London

“This is Argent’s fantastic creation at King’s Cross, prime residential over two storeys of school being built right now. It’s not quite about taking a piece of existing school, hospital, healthcare facility and then knocking down and rebuilding it, but it is about mixed use of a public/private nature which is what this idea is all about.” Bill Price, WSP

The thirteen-storey Plimsoll development at Kings Cross will be home to a mix of uses. The site consists of a cluster of domestic scaled towers, rising to 13 storeys above ground and arranged around a landscaped central garden. Designed by David Morley Architects, the building houses two schools on its lower two floors – a new Academy primary school and the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children, both with outdoor play space.

Take a look at the housing report here and read the rest of our housing debate research using the headings below:

What Londoners think

The industry view

The design

The research

The report

The Maths

The environment

The Politics