Mace and Erith win “sky forest” office scheme

The 430,000 sq ft Roots in the Sky scheme will transform Blackfriars Crown Court into a sustainable office complex containing the UK’s first rooftop urban forest.

Mace will deliver the main contract while Erith will work on the basement box and demolition works as part of a two-stage construction process.

Start on site date has been set for January 2023.

Features of the scheme include

  • London’s first rooftop urban forest with 125 mature trees, 10,000 plants and community access
  • 1,000 tonnes of soil on the rooftop forest which will protect against flash flooding and reduces storm run off by over 30%
  • Adaptability and connectivity with up to 45,000 sq ft floorplates accommodating up to 700 people on a single floor
  • Low-level air supply and chilled beams providing best-in-class air quality
  • Integrated waste energy capture, from areas such as tenant server rooms, which is injected back into the building heat network and used to heat the rooftop swimming pool
  • Reclaimed steel from the demolition of another building, setting a new benchmark for the circular economy in a push to save more carbon
  • Technology-led user experience infrastructure

Clive Nichol, CEO at Fabrix, said: “Roots in the Sky represents a step-change for the future of the office market.

“The commitment to quality shown by Mace and Erith, as well as to the building’s purpose and its very unique ESG proposition, demonstrated to us that they are the right team as we start on site on this transformational project.

“An office building that works not just for a progressive occupier but also for the local community and wider London. There is set to be a supply/demand imbalance for organisations looking for sustainable and impactful HQ buildings and we expect Roots in the Sky to be a major beneficiary of this.”

Gareth Lewis, Mace’s CEO for Construction, said: “We look forward to playing our part in making this bold vision a reality in the thriving Southwark area; working collaboratively with the exceptional team that Fabrix have built to deliver this scheme.”

Steven May, Director at Erith said: “The project’s aims align with our strategic objectives of sustainability and wellbeing whilst interacting positively with the local communities in the surrounding area.”

Circular economy principles have been prioritised in the design of the project with the structural solution incorporating reclaimed steel salvaged from a building being demolished in the City of London.

Project Team

  • Client: Fabrix
  • Architect: Sheppard Robson
  • Main Contractor: Mace
  • Enabling Works Contractor: Erith
  • Landscape Design: Harris Bugg Studio
  • Planning Consultant: Gerald Eve
  • Structural Engineer:  AKT II
  • MEP, Fire & Sustainability Consultant: Atelier Ten
  • Project Management: Gardiner & Theobald
  • Cost Consultant: Quantem
  • Leasing Agents: Knight Frank


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