The Oxo Tower Wharf development and history

View of Oxo Tower Wharf and the River Thames

Oxo Tower Wharf is an award-winning building situated on the South Bank of the River Thames. The Wharf is a mixed-use development of co-operative homes, retail design studios, restaurants, cafes, shops, and exhibition venues gallery@oxo and Bargehouse.

History

The Oxo Tower has been a landmark since the 1930s.

Around 1900, a power station was built on the site of Oxo Tower Wharf to supply electricity to the Post Office. In the late 1920s it was purchased by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company (part of the Vestey Group), which demolished much of the building but extended its riverside frontage.

The company made the famous OXO beef cube and the buildings' architect, Albert Moore, incorporated the product design as windows on a tower to get around a ban on skyline advertising. At that time, the building was named Stamford Wharf and was London’s second highest commercial building. 

By the early 1970s, the building was derelict. By the time Coin Street Community Builders bought the Wharf, the only activity was related to two barges, which were used as a floating helicopter port. The first act of CSCB was to close the heliport, bringing peace back to the riverside!

Redevelopment

In 1988 an arcaded riverside walkway was opened followed by contracts to demolish part of the building to allow light into the proposed new flats and to repair the basic structure. Between 1993 and 1995, a contract was let to fit out the riverside building and a central courtyard.

In the 1990s Oxo Tower Wharf entered a new phase when Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB) began a major refurbishment project.

The £20 million refurbishment was designed by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands. It was funded by a mixture of bank loans, CSCB equity, a Housing Corporation grant and English Partnerships' City Grant. In 1997, it was awarded The Royal Fine Art Commission/BSkyB Building of the Year for Urban Regeneration Award.

Oxo Tower Wharf was opened to the public in 1996. The ground, first and second floors are home to over 30 retail design studios, specialist shops and a restaurant with breathtaking river views. On the ground floor gallery@oxo hosts a changing programme of exhibitions.

A unique feature of the Wharf is its retail studios for designer-makers. Here the public has the opportunity to watch designers at work and to commission or purchase a wide variety of original products across disciplines including fine art, textiles, jewellery and ceramics.

On the rooftop is a public viewing gallery (open daily, free admission) and the Harvey Nichols OXO Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie. Below is the Redwood Housing Co-operative with 78 flats on five floors. The co-operative has its own entrance, lifts and basement parking.

Bargehouse

Originally part of Stamford Wharf, the Bargehouse was home to the innovative The Museum Of from 1998-2001. Today, it is used as a venue for exhibitions and events. Bargehouse will be developed for permanent commercial uses in the future.