Next-gen Southwark office topped with urban forest gets the go-ahead

1 November 2022

Led by investment manager and developer Fabrix, Roots in The Sky will be London’s first office building to feature an urban forest rooftop. Accessible to both the local community and the public, amenities on offer include community gardens with collaborative neighbourhood uses, a rooftop restaurant, bar, swimming pool and private terraces for the office space below. Sustainability is at the forefront of the scheme’s priorities, with the building targeting BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ and WELL ‘Gold’ certifications.

As one of the largest urban rooftop gardens in Europe, Roots in the Sky’s extensive tree planting will exceed the urban forest criteria set by the United Nations, delivering canopy cover of 23%. Watered by a passive water capture and irrigation system, the forest will help reintroduce wildlife to the city, contributing to London’s greening, biodiversity and sustainability targets.

Formerly home to Blackfriars Crown Court, Studio RHE’s architectural design will completely transform the existing 1960s building. The completed scheme will offer just under 385,000 ft2 of contemporary and sustainable office, commercial and community space, with many of the prime areas allocated for local uses or dedicated to affordable workspace and operated by a not-for-profit management structure.

Waterman’s team undertook the air quality assessment for the scheme and delivered baseline ecology surveys which informed the emerging masterplan and maximised Roots in The Sky’s biodiversity potential. This was achieved by taking a collaborative approach with the project team to develop bespoke ecological recommendations which realised Fabrix’s aspirations of delivering a ‘showstopper’ project.

In a recent statement, Clive Nichol, CEO of Fabrix said: “Our vision for Roots In The Sky is a modern workplace that actively engages with its local surroundings, and helps shape a neighbourhood that is enjoyable, liveable and economically productive. It’s a commercial building that aims to be a ‘good citizen’, offering a genuine place for community uses, contributing to the ongoing regeneration of Bankside and to London’s wider greening targets.”

Work is set to commence on site in January 2021, whilst completion is anticipated in Q3 2024.