The 19th century warehouses of the densely packed Bear Gardens conservation area have been linked and adapted into a 75-room boutique aparthotel, with ground floor mixed-use space that Includes accommodation for the nearby Globe Theatre and a language school.

Project Name: Bear Gardens
Studio Name: SPPARC
Project size: 5500 m2
Site size: 5912 m2
Project Budget: $20000000
Completion date: 2018
Location: London, United Kingdom
Photography: Ed Reeve

Bear Gardens by SPPARC - Sheet1
Exterior View ©Ed Reeve

Through carefully considered restoration and modern intervention, we have given the three principle buildings a new identity which celebrates the colourful history of the site. The eight-storey scheme offers a contemporary urban experience for its users whilst remaining sensitive to the conservation area and surrounding developments. The courtyard to the front of the building, historically a site for bear-baiting, is retained and restored to maintain this remanence of the medieval street pattern.

Originally the home for E. Newman & Sons, the creators of card patterns for weaving looms, our reimagining of this uniquely historic collection of buildings was informed by the industrial heritage that dominates the area. The entrance to the BREEAM-excellent rated aparthotel uses the original retained façade of part of the existing Empire warehouse and 1-2 Rose Alley.

Bear Gardens by SPPARC - Sheet2
Reception ©Ed Reeve

With an impressive double height foyer, the interiors offer a combination of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, all of which are bespoke in layout. Guest facilities include a 24-hour concierge, gym, pantry area and co-working space, offering a unique home-from-home in the heart of Southwark.

The ground floor of the scheme provides mixed use units with the northern site leased by Bell English Language School and the southern site providing studios for the iconic Globe Theatre directly linking to their Sackler Education Building. In the lower floors, board-formed concrete and exposed brick walls are complemented by original-style arched metal framed windows.

Bear Gardens by SPPARC - Sheet3
Coffee table ©Ed Reeve

The upper floors are lighter in composition, combining clear and obscure floor-to-ceiling glazing with rich bronze circular rods, creating a strong rhythm to the façade and enhancing the appearance of the once-dilapidated buildings. The upper floors of the Rose Alley elevation have perforated bronze screens that offer privacy, referencing the loom patterns that were once manufactured in the original warehouse.

Extensive solar studies were undertaken to determine the massing arrangement and ensure that natural light is maximised throughout the building, creating a bright and attractive environment for its users. Inspired by the rich history of the area, we have worked closely with Southwark planners, Macro Investments and Native to deliver a cutting-edge contemporary mixed-use development in the heart of Bankside demonstrating that modern architecture can successfully cohabit with our heritage fabric.

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