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KM
Monday 5 March 2007 9.26am
Bit of a knee jerk there wj - like suziq I actually live in the area and have done so for the last 25 years and this would eventually impact directly onto my living space (and views from my window) if I stay. I was using the Thames as my 'Colorado River' and think the analogy a fair one with all the planning permissions etc currently flying around in the stretch from Tower Bridge to Blackfriars. I'm don't mind confessing to being old fashioned, I like the London skyline as it is and, yes, I'm biased but does that actually make me wrong? Why not retain something that's beautiful for future generations for a change and screw commercialism?
KM
Monday 5 March 2007 10.48am
Just had a conversation about this over coffee break with E&C work colleagues (sad b****r aren't I, hardly get out of SE1 at all during the week) and consensus was against all these high rise in the centre of London and particulary along the Thames, I nearly got a save the skyline campaign going. In the interest of full disclosure however we did ALL agree that there is nothing wrong with tall buildings per se, they are fine in context - ie Canary Wharf
Monday 5 March 2007 9.40pm
James Hatts wrote:
I was struck by the proximity of the commercial tower facing Blackfriars Road to the Great Portland Estates development (240 Blackfriars Road) opposite - you will have two tall, flat frontages directly facing each other across Blackfriars Road.

I specifically asked the architects about this. They claimed to have done some sort of modelling of the wind effects both for their own scheme in isolation and in combination with Beetham and/or 240 Blackfriars Road which suggested no significant problems.

I have to say I was a bit sceptical. I don't think the problem is the prevailing wind from the south west - IIRC it is when the wind is coming from the south east that Blackfriars Road becomes a wind funnel (sufficient to blow a Southwark litter bin straight through one of our office plate glass windows in a 1989 gale!)

The impact on views from the south will be fairly dramatic too.
Monday 5 March 2007 9.49pm
I believe that Bankside Open Spaces Trust are already on the case, but I have serious doubts whether the (lime?) trees on the northern boundary of the churchyard will survive having a new basement excavated only a few metres away from them.

I'm not sure that they are as crucial as the trees in Archbishop's Park, but people need to make sure that there is a much more detailed design for this boundary and any necessary additional/replacement parking.

I was a bit concened that the very sketchy indications of glass lifts (a la Lloyds building) on the southern facade of the office tower rising behind some sort of metallic grille skin were not yet fully thought out. A high tech design of this sort needs to be done with the same finesse as the original Lloyds building rather than the sort of off-the-peg solutions from lift manufacturers seen in too many shopping centres with poorly designed screens to stop people falling into the lift pits at ground level.

The whole southern facade of this building needs to be much more clearly explained in the planning permisssion drawings.
Tuesday 6 March 2007 7.48am
'Why not retain something that's beautiful for future generations'....?

You have to be kidding. I live in the area. Have you taken a close look at those buildings? Some of them are no more than empty fire hazards.

But of course we're all architects now.
Tuesday 6 March 2007 8.19am
As it stands, that end of Blackfriars Road is pretty unappealing. The issue, surely, is not resistance to development, but resistance to a development that will make existing residents feel like Lilliputians and may even, as KM implies, drive them away from the area.
Tuesday 6 March 2007 8.43am
I'm no nay-sayer to tall buildings - but what does seem to be happening is that one goes up, and then another one down the road, and then there's a tiny patch left, and someone gets permission to bung in another one (sorry to bang on, but just LOOK at the site of the one going up on our parking lot at Metro Central Heights - it's a postage stamp size area, but it had trees on it - so why not put a tower they said - and as a result the whole complex of MCH will be bastardised and degraded). So the end result is that a whole crop of unrelated towers, built by different developers at different times with different purposes which finally blocks out the views and creates a totally un-lovely, unfriendly and uncoordinated mass.
KM
Tuesday 6 March 2007 9.26am
kmitchell wrote:
'Why not retain something that's beautiful for future generations'....?
You have to be kidding. I live in the area. Have you taken a close look at those buildings? Some of them are no more than empty fire hazards.

But of course we're all architects now.

As I've already said, I too live in the area and have done so for many years, even before it was 'fashionable. I thought I made it clear I was referring to the London skyline in general rather than the buildings on Blackfriars Rd. I like the old shop and Paper Moon and will be sad to see them go - not so some of the wrecks. Go to Brussels and see what happens when people stop caring about their city and buildings get knocked down and thrown up willy nilly, may be it will be easier to understand my trepidation.

I'm not, and have never prenteded to be, an architect but do know what I like and such remarks won't stop me giving my opinion - I will continue to leave the technical comments to those qualified to make them. Lang Rabbie's observation about the trees, for instance, hadn't occurred to me but if I had my way we wouldn't allow even one more tree in London to be sacrificed to the vultures. Others might not like them, so be it.

PS - Anyone else see the BBC News this AM? Something called the Walkie Talkie is seeking planning permission on the north bank and it will block and obscure views of St Paul's and The Tower. Think I'm becoming more of a building luddite every day!
Tuesday 6 March 2007 9.59am
KM, that's fine. I love the Paper Moon. But what we amateurs forget is there has to be SOME integrated plan, a scheme that stretches a bit beyond our own horizon. You don't have to agree with it but, also, you can't just knock over the eyesores and leave the quaint bits. You can't just put buildings you don't want in your street in someone else's street.

On a positive note, residents around Hopton St have fought for years to keep out developers of a monstrosity that would have been stuck between Falcon Point and the posh flats behind them. Now we're going to get some space next to Tate Modern, after a compromise with new, realistic developers. Not all tall buildings are castles of evil.

And that's not to say we all don't have a right to our opinions - and I respect yours. In fact, I agree with a lot of what you say. All I know is those unused dumps are horrible and I would love to see a bright shiny tower there instead. In an ideal world, I would have a wide Parisian esplanade running from Blackfriars Bridge to St George's Circus and beyond, with loads of trees and parks, all lined with affordable housing, each with a nice garden, the birds would sing all day long and the 63 bus would never be late. And that ain't gonna happen.
KM
Tuesday 6 March 2007 2.13pm
"In an ideal world, I would have a wide Parisian esplanade running from Blackfriars Bridge to St George's Circus and beyond, with loads of trees and parks, all lined with affordable housing, each with a nice garden, the birds would sing all day long and the 63 bus would never be late."

You had me going there until you mentioned the number 63! Seriously though, I've nothing at all against regeneration but don't feel anything is better than nothing. Surroundings and general area must surely be taken into account and unrestrained monoliths will make London a much less pleasant place to live in.
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