Architect KPF swapped out for Apt as developer eyes ‘holistic review’

Apt Portal Way

Apt’s new proposal for the 4 Portal Way site will increase the height of KPF’s approved scheme by three storeys

Controversial plans by KPF for one of the tallest residential buildings in the country have been shelved and the scheme redesigned from scratch by a different architect.

Egyptian developer Aldau Developments has appointed Apt to draw up fresh plans for the twin tower scheme at 4 Portal Way in Ealing, west London, and submitted a new planning application four years after original proposals were approved.

KPF’s scheme would have seen two towers of 45 and 55 storeys linked by a nine-storey sky bridge and containing 702 homes and a 159-bed hotel. 

At 237m in height, it was set to be the tallest building in a cluster of residential towers in the Old Oak and Park Royal Development zone.

The practice was dropped from the project in summer 2020 with Apt, which is behind Landsec’s Hill House scheme in the City of London, starting work with Aldau on the replacement proposals in 2022.

These new proposals would be even taller, increasing the height of the tallest tower by three storeys to 58 storeys, although its shorter neighbour would be trimmed to 44 storeys. The scheme’s number of homes would also be cut to 699 and the hotel downsized to 90 beds under the plans.

KPF Portal Way

KPF’s plans for the site were approved in February 2020

Aldau said it had redesigned the tower to add second staircases following the government’s proposals to mandate second means of escape in all residential buildings above 18m in height last summer.

The Cairo-based developer also said it wanted to improve the sustainability of the buildings with higher performing facades and a more efficient energy strategy.

“Since the existing planning permission was approved in February 2020 there have been significant events nationally and globally that have affected developments across London,” the firm said.

“These include: the covid-19 pandemic, changes to fire regulations, raw materials shortages, inflationary pressures on build costs, supply issues and rapidly rising energy costs.”

It added: “Whilst the existing scheme could be amended or adjusted, a wholesale approach to tackle the key items such as introducing two fire stairs, dual aspect façades and a more sustainable energy strategy warranted a holistic review. 

“As such a redesign from the ground up was undertaken in 2022-2024 in close collaboration and consultation with the [Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation] since January 2023. 

“The proposed scheme has evolved from a design lead approach with core principles retained throughout.”

The project team for the development includes Gardiner & Theobald on costs, Gerald Eve on planning, WSP as multi-disciplinary engineer, Aecom on fire, Cameo & Partners on landscape design, Montagu Evans on town planning and Trium on environment.

KPF’s original scheme received 167 objections from locals prior to its approval in February 2020 with concerns focused on its height and its design not being in keeping with the local area.

Other towers proposed for the cluster include Pilbrow & Partners’ 56-storey three-tower scheme at 1 Portal Way which was approved last November.

Apt Portal Way 2

Apt’s plans would include 699 homes, 35% of which would be affordable