SKYSCRAPERS LOOM FOR THE SOUTH BANK
18 February 2005
Seventy-storey residential block one of three towers to rival City skyline
By Robert Booth
London's South Bank is set to host a new cluster of skyscrapers, including a riverside tower which could boast the nation's highest living space, 70 storeys in the sky.
Planners and developers have held meetings to discuss three tower developments beside Blackfriars Bridge
which would challenge the City's dominance of the London skyline and create a series of new landmarks for south London. BD has seen early designs of all three.
The centrepiece is an elegant tower, designed by Ian Simpson Architects, which rises to 215m and would contain apartments and a hotel, just 50m from the River Thames.
The building narrows towards the river and has a more slender plan than the other office towers planned.
“It's not about height, but about creating something beautiful,” said Simpson. “I don't know where it's going to end up, but I feel this site could sustain a building like this.”
Until now, only towers housing offices have been proposed at this scale in the UK, but this scheme, developed by the Beetham Organisation, will rival for height schemes such as the 224m office tower on Leadenhall Street in the City, proposed by the Richard Rogers Partnership.
The final design of the building, which is likely to be submitted to planners in August, has yet to be confirmed, and environmental impact tests, essential for a tall building of this scale, have not been carried out.
On the next block south, a second celebrated architect, Wilkinson Eyre, is proposing another tower for quoted developer Land Securities, which looks set to reach about 35 storeys. A planning application for the 176m-high scheme is expected ahead of the Beetham tower and will contain more than 46,000sq m of office space.
The final part in the high-rise jigsaw is a remodelling of the 30-storey King's Reach Tower —the home of consumer magazine publisher IPC.
Architectural practice Make submitted designs for planning permission at the end of last week that include the demolition of a low-rise block, the construction of a series of mini-towers and the recladding of the main tower.
The area has been earmarked by Southwark council and London's mayor, Ken Livingstone, as suitable for tall building development; developers believe it could rival the City as a new business hub between Canary Wharf and the West End.
They expect businesses such as publishing, marketing, advertising and niche financial services, as well as some professionals, to relocate from the West End.
Southwark council has a record of supporting tall buildings and awarded planning permission to the tallest building in the country, the London Bridge Tower or Shard, which is due to start on site later this year.
Council officials said they had pulled the three plans together and are considering their impact together during the consultation period.
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 18 February 2005 9.13pm by wjfox2005.