AXA commissioned Haworth Tompkins to develop a phased masterplan to regenerate a derelict site on the seafront in Douglas on the Isle of Man. The brief was for 165,000 sq ft of bespoke office space over a basement car park. The prominent site was of historic importance as it formed part of the grand architectural composition of Loch Promenade, a dramatic sweep of tall Victorian terraced hotels and boarding houses overlooking Douglas Bay.
“For Douglas' Villiers redevelopment, Haworth Tompkins has designed a landmark building that combines a seaside exuberance, a benign relationship to its historic neighbours and a strong modern identity. ”
Martin Spring, Building Magazine
The new development, which was the largest on the island since the 1890s, respected the quality and richness of this context by continuing the sweep of the adjacent buildings and adopting their vertical rhythm of individual frontages and bay windows. Behind this seafront 'terrace' a new sheltered civic space was created to link the new development with the town beyond and provide a suitable setting for social activities and performances.
As a complex piece of urban master planning, Loch Promenade has proved extremely robust. Since the proposals were first approved in 1994, the master plan has adapted and changed to remain commercially viable. The large scale infrastructure of the basement car parking and town square has all been constructed, together with the first two buildings.
Loch Promenade, Villiers House
Address: Douglas, Isle of Man
Completion Date: Phase 1 Dec 1999, Phase 2 Dec 2002
Construction Cost: £14M
Client: Axa Equity & Law Life Assurance
Contractor Phase 1: AC Mauger & Sons (Sunwin)
Contractor Phase 2: Farrans (Construction) Ltd
Services Engineer: WSP
Quantity Surveyor: Tompkins Robinson Surveyors
Structural Engineer: Ward Cole