An application for a 15-storey building for apartments, office and retail space on the Devil’s Tongue, Queensway, has been filed with the Town Planner.
The plan is for a striking building adjacent to the Waterport fountain, in a scheme that will require realignment of a section of Queensway Road to create new pedestrianised areas adjacent to the city walls.
The proposed multi storey development, which has yet to be discussed by the Development and Planning Commission, will also include residential storage, cafes and restaurants and an underground car park for 78 cars and 78 motorbikes.
Hepta limited are seeking outline planning permission for its 15-storey building, however, two additional floors will be at basement level, where the car park, storage units, bin area and plant will be provided for.
On the ground floor, there will be commercial units, an office entrance and a residential entrance.
The first floor will consist of retail and residential back of house. The next five floors will be used as office space.
The seventh to thirteenth floors will be residential apartments and the remaining two floors will house duplex penthouses.
The architects on the project are a UK-based company, 1508 London.
In the design statement filled with Town Planning it is stated that the “pivotal location has become a congested setting with traffic and pedestrian movement around the site. The concept is to re-purpose the site and setting to ensure a better traffic flow and that pedestrian movement has a greater priority, improving the connection from the Ocean Village to Grand Casement Square and Main Street.”
“Our proposed design aims to create an architectural proposal that will establish the Waterport site as a destination and ‘gateway’ for tourism and the locals of Gibraltar,” it added.
The plans include the pedestrianisation of a section of Queensway Road to “create a realigned and simplified road configuration with an increased priority to pedestrians and greater public realm.”
“Through the realignment of the site to pedestrianise the existing Queensway Road we are activating and redefining the existing historic wall through the creation of a new public realm and shopping plaza,” the design statement says.
To do this, the plan is to widen Devil’s Tongue and realign the highway, landscape the counterguard and connect this to the site as a new green public area, pedestrianise a section of Queensway Road and connect it to Waterport Casemates, create new bus interchanges around the site and landscape the existing bus stop as a new public area.
Ground floor level will become the ‘plinth’, with retail space, public space and amenities. The first floor level as part of the ‘plinth’, will comprise of mezzanine spaces to the retail units below.
The Podium level will be open to the public with retail spaces, amenities and a connection to the old city wall where there is the possibility of a park called Linear Park will be created.
The third to sixth floors of office space can be occupied by one tenant or subdivide into smaller spaces.
The residential floors, floor seven to thirteen, can have two different layouts. One with 11 units on each level and the other with eight larger units both have the potential for external terraces.
On the top two floors, larger apartments could be provided for with six on each level. The design statement states that in doing this there could be “up to three aspects from each apartment for key views across Gibraltar.”
The rooftop will have two residential penthouse apartments “with 360 degree panoramic views across Gibraltar”, an opportunity for private landscaping and a pool. This level will also house the Building Maintenance Unit (BMU) for cleaning and repairing the façade. In addition, green technologies like solar panels or green roofs could be provided for.
The design statement said: “We have looked to use simple but rich metal finishes for the refined expressive elements.”
“As well as stone to complement the expressive pieces and ground the proposal as an honest reflection of the structural arrangement.”
“The stone can offer a depth and interest through a relief or fluting to create a tactile surface. Furthermore the use of transparency through the glazing will be a key ‘connecting’ finish that links through the development between the stacking and hierarchy of uses and offer the interplay between inside-outside during the day and at night animating the form.”
The developer acknowledges that the Gibraltar Government promotes renewable energy.
The design statement affirms, “High solar gain offers opportunities to reduce electrical energy demand by constructing water heating solar systems and photovoltaic power generation. The most effective and efficient systems for this type of building will be utilised to meet agreed environmental targets.”
The designer took into consideration the orientation of the buildings, the quality of materials to be used, landscaping and the provision of more pedestrian areas when creating the design.
The plans create new routes both horizontally and vertically through the site, “encouraging pedestrian routes and foot-fall for the retail and restaurants.”
They hope to link the development with the historic city wall coupled with the plans to create a linear park along the existing wall in order to add more public space.
Images courtesy of 1508 London.