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Former Nestle HQ Set For Radical Makeover

Renovation work is now getting into full swing following the strip out of St George's House, perhaps better known as the former Nestle Headquarters in central Croydon.

Designed by Ronald Ward and Partners in 1959 and then completed and occupied by the chocolate giant in 1964, the tower became vacant in 2012 after Nestle finally left Croydon for a base elsewhere in south London.

Unlike Taberner House, another similarly sized sixties tower which is nearing a flattened site after demolition, the decision here was made by the owner, Legal & General, to bring in EPR Architects to design a rebuilding.

EPR came up with a residential led scheme which will contain 288 apartments. The structural frame of the tower, which presently stands at 79.2 metres tall, is retained whilst new floors will be added on to the top. The tower is split up into three vertical sections that allow green roofs on three different levels giving it a stepped appearance. This sees no floors added to one section, two added to the middle section, and four added to the third, each with a frame projecting above them and enclosing the greenery. In all the height will be pushed to over 100 metres making it the second tallest building in Croydon after the Saffron Tower.

Externally EPR has tried to create a tower that is both contemporary, and also Modern, that is that it references the modernist movement that helped define the borough. Throughout the colour tones are deliberately warm rather than the greens, blues, browns and whites that dominate so much of Croydon.

A number of different approaches were taken before they settled on the present design, including one that would have had a mixture of random and transparent panels, and another using what the architect has described as "circle iconography" which featured dozens of full height glass portholes.

The redevelopment doesn't just take in the tower but also the additional building behind it, an abandoned five floor office building which will gain two extra floors, similar cladding and see the footbridge that runs over St George's Walk removed. This shorter building running along Park Street will have new retail units on its ground floor, a sensible approach given it connects all the way into the heart of Croydon's main shopping district and is presently under utilised. The area around St George's Walk actually marked the location of the first shopping mall constructed until it was abandoned and slated for the present redevelopment.

The project is set to be completed in 2016.

Article Related buildings:

St Georges House

St Georges House
Saffron Tower

Saffron Tower
St George's House, Croydon
St George's House, Croydon