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.
Beetham's 70 storey tower is shown in blue. The other tower by Wilkinson Eyre is represented in green.
I think both these towers have an excellent chance of going ahead. Southwark Council seem very welcoming to tall buildings (they approved London Bridge Tower), and Beetham have a great reputation as demonstrated by their towers in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. I think this location is superb and won't interfere with St Paul's or any other sightlines (other than blocking the view of Tower 42 from the London Eye!). If this goes ahead it could start a whole new skyscraper cluster.
> The other point I would like to make Is
> Is that there is back log of tall buildings with
> planning permission that haven't been built yet.
> In central london
> It seem to me they'r trying to push through as
> many tall buildings as possible in advance of any
> of them being built.
> In an attempt to head of any backlash from the
> general public.
> The worst planed developments are still the Tate
> Modern Tower and Potters Fields
> Becouse they are right on the river side and right
> next to iconic and land marks
> And both occupying sites that should be public
Yes, there is a huge backlog of towers. The delay is mainly due to the lack of demand for office space. The worst seems to be over, though, and the market is starting to pick up again.
I agree with you about Potters Fields and I think that area should be left as a public space. However, the majority of tower proposals I've seen for the City and Docklands have been well-and-truly stunning, world-class designs by some of the most admired and respected architects in the world. In addition to the Shard of Glass, you have about a dozen other major skyscrapers going up in London's 2 financial centres (The City and Canary Wharf). All of them will be superb and classy designs like the Gherkin. None of the towers planned for the City will spoil the historic setting of St Paul's - they are all clustered around Tower 42 (the former NatWest Tower) i.e. within a zone designated as suitable for tall buildings. Rest assured, they have all been through a very long and thorough planning process (including 2 public inquiries) to make sure they make a positive contribution to their surroundings.
It really annoys me how there is still this negative perception of tall buildings by the general public, thanks mainly to the mistakes of the 60s and 70s. Things are really changing now, and London's skyline is going to be amazing in just a few years time. I'm a regular poster on SkyscraperCity.com, and I created a thread in the UK section that summarises all these new skyscrapers being planned, and has renderings of each scheme: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=133890&page=1
Skyscrapers can be exciting, awe-inspiring buildings, and I get frustrated at the way so many NIMBY's seem to automatically reject them.
With tall buildings Its not just what they look like its whether people really want to live in them.
I can't speek for other peopl but I"v never really fancied it myself.
Also the nicest view of St. Paul's is from Alexandra palace where it appears completely separated from the buildings in the city to the east .and rises above a tree line, with no tall buildings at all to the west.
Its difficult to work out the projectores from the above photographs but those buildings would intefear with that.
Its unlikly that would be a major isue at a public inquiry though.
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 20 February 2005 1.38pm by mickysalt.
i) some of these new/expanded towers were replacements for disastrously dull/overbearing 1970s and 1980s slab blocks along the river e.g. New Kings Beam House, Ludgate House (the building formerly occupied by the Express), Rose Court (saving the foundations of the Rose was no excuse for such a god-awful piece of architecture) etc;
ii) they led to an improved pedestrian environment between the river walk and the streets behind.
But from what I've seen/heard they won't (with the possible exception of the new landscaping proposals for the IPC tower - although I'm underwhelmed by the toy town use of colour on the building itself!).
IMO the proposed towers use the bulk of those existing buildings to hide their lack of an effective design at ground level.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that neither of the proposed new towers will be anywhere near as slim as wjfox2005's image suggests.