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Destroying the character of Bermondsey Street

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Friday 30 April 2010 3.09pm
I think I'm in favour because its the Shard people proposing these 3 towers...and the Shard, to my mind, will be the most striking building in London. Its absolutely true that its all down to the architecture and planning a proper integration of the old and new...but in can be done, and done well.
Friday 30 April 2010 3.14pm

Thanks for the clarification as to what you mean by the east or west of Weston.

In many ways I agree with what you are saying (what is there already matters, being sympathetic when building).

I disagree about St Thomas Street. I think office buildings there of some note in terms of style, size and function will draw professionals to the buildings (at least their employers will be there so they will follow). That will increase the retail trade and have other benefits. I am not sure there is enough demand for more offices but they would have a positive effect if the economics make sense.

At the same time a number of the documents being circulated show buildings that are housing or residential. I am not sure if it would matter to people if the three towers were affordable housing, a mix of affordable and market priced or if they were mixed use like the Shard.

Ultimately most of the conversations revolve around assumptions as nothing specific has been proposed. Guidelines for what is sympathetic make sense but comments about impact to the area are hard to make without any sense of the use and density.

Let's assume the three buildings were built. They would be in my direct line of site from what I live if I face north. As the present view is of rail tracks and then tall buildings, I am not sure my view would change other than I would no longer see the rail tracks (the most ugly of the view now). If the buildings were a great design then my view would improve immensely. If the buildings were like Guy's or the two residential two blocks on Weston my view would be much worse. The idea that I would be looking at tall buildings is already a given. It was that way over 5 years ago when I moved to the area.
Friday 30 April 2010 3.15pm
The Guy's Tower is currently undergoing works to reclad it and hopefully it will be somewhat more attractive following this.

I am not sure how tall buildings could be accomodated in the area...I don't mean on the sites themselves...but actually accomodate all the people and services that these would require. Developers will want to maximise the use of the sites (obviously) and put as much on them as they can...but the streets are already very crowded during busy times and simply will not carry their numbers...ever try walking to London Bridge Station in the morning rush hour(s)?

As for your view I couldn't agree more that the sight of the railway lines must be less than impressive, but that doesn't mean something out of proportion should be built simply to hide them. Hopefully whatever is built, however tall or small, will be aesthetically more pleasing.
Friday 30 April 2010 3.17pm
urbanite wrote:
The Guy's Tower is currently undergoing works to reclad it and hopefully it will be somewhat more attractive following this.

I saw the sign at Guy's yesterday and like you I am very hopeful. Granted the bit that is the most ugly is the lecture hall bump at the top of the building.
Friday 30 April 2010 3.45pm
Reading this thread, it strikes me that it would be interesting to see whether there's a correlation between comments on which areas of which streets should be a developer's free-for-all, and which areas the people making the comments live in.

...if you press it, they will come.
Friday 30 April 2010 4.03pm

Good comment.

At a local meeting many of the people at the meeting expressing concerns were from the greater neighborhood or even outside of the neighborhood. A few were live or work in the buildings closest to the proposed tall building zone.

My point is the interest seems to be be almost uncorrelated to the distance from the site. Granted, any building that is 30 or more stories tends to attract interest given how easy it is to see from a distance. Look at Guy's and you can see their tower from across the river or from other directions.

The Shard will be iconic and the tallest building in the area. In some ways it will soften the impact of the Guy's tower as it will no longer stick out. Having a cluster of tall buildings is the surface logic.

I think the biggest issue is the lack of details on what might happen. The site does have a few images (1 shot of a physical model, 1 artist impression that is a mashup plus some other drawings). It is human nature to resist change and there is definitely an element of that coming through. Change that is not specific and at an unknown point in the future is even worse.
Saturday 1 May 2010 8.42pm
There is only so much mileage in this mashup line John. A look at the official Sellar proposal shows the mashup to be almost exactly correct. The only defect is that the building is so high that it disappears out of frame. Southwark Council have been provided with a copy of the original photo to help them show what they consider 'well designed' tower blocks could look like in the location (They only need to put a dotted line in the sky). They have been allocated space on our Billboard to do an honest consultation. Silence.

And what's wrong with Centrepoint. Is it not a winner of multiple architecture awards and now listed. One man's meat.....
Saturday 1 May 2010 10.59pm

A mashup is a remix of digital data (original meaning). Alternatively it is "a web page or application that uses or combines data or functionality from two or many more external sources to create a new service."

The idea that the image displayed is a combination of two or more images seems to fit the layman's use of 'mashup". I could call it a composite image if that helps

You chose Centrepoint. I am not sure it matters which building was selected. Different tall buildings could be substituted (Guy's, the Shard, 1 Canary Wharf, the Gherkin). All would could to be scaled to size. All would be speculation in terms of the final height plus the visual impact. Some are just ugly while others have their merits.

While we are discussing it here, does the composite try to show three buildings or is the composite really only representing one building that will be sited on the corner? There appears to be three buildings but the angle seem way off when you look at the site map vs the composite image view angle.

The picture of the model from the Seller is more interesting in terms of actual look or visual ascetics on the site. That said, to really understand the visual impact we would need to know the actual design elements plus the external cladding. Stuff that will rarely come out before a formal planning discussion.
Tuesday 4 May 2010 8.28am
This is an interesting discussion and I shall throw my bit in here too

The merits of buildings themselves are very individual and can be very different from 1 person to another's perspective. However, I think the real issue here is not one of building design per se, but of large buildings in a space which doesn't match their size or the density needed to accomadate them functionally.

I think we need to differential between an architectural insight and a planning issue around the actual workings of hordes of extra people in very small footprint areas usuing the local area which is already very densly developed.
Tuesday 4 May 2010 11.34am
There was a a response to this topic in an interview carried out by this website with the leader of Southwark Council:

"A Grange ward resident accuses Southwark of colluding with a developer to promote tall buildings near the junction of Bermondsey Street and St Thomas' Street. How does Nick Stanton respond?
"There are two separate propositions. There is proposition A which is Southwark Council's which says we think that this area around St Thomas' Street where you already have the Shard of Glass and Guy's Tower is a place where it would be appropriate to have tall buildings. We're not saying how tall, we're not saying what kind of buildings ...
"In fact if you read the whole document it's saying that we don't want tall buildings anywhere else except around London Bridge Station so it's trying to protect that area to the other side of Borough High Street along the Thames towards the Tate and Blackfriars Road from having more high buildings. But we do think - and it's what we've been saying around the Elephant - that around these big public transport interchanges tall buildings are suitable.
"You've then got an emerging proposition from a developer that they'd like to build some tall buildings along St Thomas' Street. Now, they're going to have to put a planning application in and people will get a chance to have their say on that. Just because you've got a planning document that says in theory that tall buildings would be suitable for this area, it doesn't mean therefore that planning application does or does not get consent."
Cllr Stanton says that the council will listen to people's views on the emerging planning policy.
"Bear in mind that our London Bridge, Borough and Bankside SPD does have to be in conformity with the Mayor's London Plan. The Mayor of London says that London Bridge is an 'opportunity area'; that does dictate to an extent what we have to say about that."
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