Silver Building by DSDHA



Architects DSDHA have won planning permission for a silver-tiled building in Soho, London.


Here are some before-and-after renderings of the site on Beak Street.


Info from DSDHA:




Planning permission and conservation area consent were granted by Westminster City Council for a remarkable new mixed-use office and residential development in Beak St, Soho by architects DSDHA. The scheme marks a major step forward for contemporary architecture and development in Westminster in what will be one of the first modern designs to achieve approval in Soho for 10 years, since Richard Roger's Broadwick Street development started in 1996.


Entirely clad in silver ceramic tiles, the 20,000 sq ft scheme for City and General addresses Westminster City Council's challenge for developers to deliver "innovative, creative and sustainable designs". Commenting on DSDHA’s design response, Westminster planning department hailed the architects as “a renowned contemporary architectural practice which specialises in new design coupled with sustainability”. It will be the practice’s first building in Westminster and is expected to start on site in early 2009.

The building is described by DSDHA as a “gift to the street”, making reference to Beak Street’s historical 18th century street name of Silver Street, when it was originally built alongside Golden Square to the south. The building responds directly to the unique context of Soho and seeks to represent its idiosyncratic character by offering new focal points to the surrounding streets as well as having a spectacular glazed entrance that allows generous views into a vertical garden courtyard. This living wall and atrium provide light and natural ventilation and offers a supplementary cooling effect from the plants to minimise energy use.

Posted on Thursday June 12th 2008 at 10:40 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • edward

    The renderings don’t begin to convey the appearance of the silver tile-but I’m not liking what I am imagining: sounds really tacky. And some street elevations would help. But the glazed entrance and roof structure look brilliant.

  • ivan

    I like the idea of responding to history but the scale of windows is too small for sorroundings and no reason for skewed entrance

  • I like the design, visually striking but from the plans it doesn’t look like it will be jarring or shockingly out of place. I really like the addition shapes created with the glazing too. I hope the garden works as well in practice as in theory and look forward to seeing this one in person!

  • Ujo

    what is it with you people in Europe and the need for sensation? My point is that even if it lacks of information on the interior concept of the building, the idea of the entrance seems nice, but I’ve seen it before, and only not one time. And what strikes me is the amount of energie (man/hour, Imac/hour) spent on a structure of glass that ir far from presenting itself as a envolving abstract image.

  • Seems to be a surprising splash of modern arch in a old town, not as out of place as it is exciting.

    (think Trevi fountain)

  • unpopular

    its actually not great at all… the british are really old farts when it comes to heritage. So just the fact that they are actually putting a new looking building there instead of historical pastiche doesn’t mean the building is good.

    and this faceted stuff is getting a bit lame. Interesting the first few times one sees it and of course only when its done well.
    So yes… these architects can pull at a few points in a sketchup model… not really designing at all.

  • “The building responds directly to the unique context of Soho”

    You mean its messy, dirty and full of crack dealers?

  • Jon

    Oh Daniel Brown, what a droll sausage you are – you don’t happen to read the Daily Mail, do you?
    As someone who works, plays (but doesn’t live. Just yet) in Soho, it’s a much needed departure. Pastiche is criminal so it’s a relief they haven’t gone down that route, yet it is confidently but not flagrantly idiosyncratic. I like.
    And while we’re on the subject of Soho – what is that they’ve done at the Charing Cross Road end of Old Compton Street? They’ve ‘rebuilt’ what was standing before, yet decided that only one side of the block needs a decent standard of materials – there’s an entire (massively visible) swathe of UPVC. Horrible.

  • I prefer BEFORE images…

  • It’s really not hard for architecture to look radical in London. Has to be one of the most architecture-aphobic cities in the world.

  • Nisa

    Looks like the building for Lasalle College of the Arts (Singapore).

  • Sarah

    Hmm… it looks good at first, but after REALLY studying the render I wonder whether it would look that good in real life.

    Overall, I think its a good start considering the area and cultural ethos when it comes to modern design. Maybe they should just tweek it a little more for interest sake… make it a bit more gasp worthy, haha.

  • Jill

    I also prefer the BEFORE images. The view from the side street is awful – it looks so ridiculously out of place. I also thought the ‘gift’ statement was daft – you don’t pay for gifts.

  • Ted

    And the street (Soho) would pay for this development? Daft statement

  • Guest

    Am not arguing for Victorian imitation modernism as contextual, but certainly something with a personality that feels like it should be there. This is a wide and acrimonious debate, but modern buildings can and do do this quite well – fit in an historic context.

    I feel, from the images at least, that this one doesn’t. It stews in a sort of bland design chi chi – not bold enough to make a statement, not timid enough either.

    England, London and Soho needs emissaries for modern architecture. It is a historically dense situation that wants great buildings we can pass on to the next generation. Maybe this one should be thought over again!