Luxury flats on the Thames

Forget the Côte d’Azur. You’d be hard put to find a more expensive piece of waterfront real estate in all of Europe than the stretch of River Thames between Blackfriars and London Bridge in south London.

The price of a three-bedroom flat in the newest development here is £5 million, and that’s for a place right next to a power station. Mind you, it’s not just any old power station, it’s the Tate Modern art gallery, which was converted from its electricity-producing role in 2001 and now generates five million visitors per year.

And these aren’t just any old flats, either. This bespoke quartet of apartment blocks is Neo Bankside, designed by Richard Rogers’s world-famous architectural practice Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners. There are 199 apartments, all held together by a set of screwdriver-shaped steel braces attached to the outside of the buildings.

The main purpose of the braces is to minimise the need for internal supporting walls, thereby giving the occupants more view for their money. However, in typical Rogers fashion, these load-bearing struts aren’t kept out of sight, but put out on display. Remember, this is the firm which gave us the Pompidou Centre and the Lloyd’s Building, where pipes, vents and flues were routinely cast in starring roles.