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Old July 21st, 2006, 12:07 PM   #21
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isnt there also another level of competition between developers, rather than just thinking about all the office space available in new low-rises isnt the skyscraper quite a specifc niche market? And the developers would like to compete between each other by offering a skyscraper alternative?
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Old July 21st, 2006, 01:05 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gothicform
this tower will NOT be built speculatively.
But it's still possible that enabling works, demolition and site preparation could commence, even without a pre-let. If you remember, Minerva considered doing this with their tower. It's a way of speeding up the process in case a potential tenant comes along wanting a tower.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 01:18 PM   #23
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Yes, LBT still has a building on site, which means it is going to take longer to begin actual construction when the prelet with TFL is secured, where as it would have been alot faster if PWC had left last year and demolition was now complete. We could have seen it starting in a matter of weeks if it wasn't for PWC needing relocaion. So it is better for DIFA to get that sorted out now, before they get their prelet.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 01:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjfox2002
But it's still possible that enabling works, demolition and site preparation could commence, even without a pre-let. If you remember, Minerva considered doing this with their tower. It's a way of speeding up the process in case a potential tenant comes along wanting a tower.
Clearing the site without a prelet isn't exactly comparable with building the whole thing......
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Old July 21st, 2006, 01:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potto
... isnt the skyscraper quite a specifc niche market? ...
I agree.

not every company is willing to pay higher rents in order to have offices in a prestigious building. skyscrapers are niche markets (in european cities, where skyscraper offices are only a fraction of the total office space), but in a major city like london it shouldn't be such a big problem to find a tenant for a building like that.
having said that being a niche market isn't such a good thing at all. this narrows the list of potential tenants willing to take up a large chunk of the tower to a few, I guess. I don't think DIFA won't find an anchor tenant, but I think it may take a while. it will be built eventually. or if DIFA quits someone else will build something tall there.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 03:07 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caw123
Clearing the site without a prelet isn't exactly comparable with building the whole thing......
No it's not, but it's a hell of alot quicker than doing it after. I suppose if this happened and everything fell through they could sell the design to some crazy big company who could build right away if the didnt need a tenent, but obviously they dont intent on doing it for that purpose
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 03:55 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wjfox2002
But it's still possible that enabling works, demolition and site preparation could commence, even without a pre-let. If you remember, Minerva considered doing this with their tower. It's a way of speeding up the process in case a potential tenant comes along wanting a tower.
Doing enabling works costs developers money & if everythings falls thourgh etc then they have wasted money they dont have. The offfice market might crash in which case an old building leased out for the time being makes more economic sense than having a hole in the ground costing you money because you have borrowed the money (which is often the case with developers as most of there funding is borrowed money) to demolish it.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 06:23 PM   #28
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Interesting pdf document from the president of KPF Associates, courtesy of 'Planning in London' magazine (website).

Warning - the file is 13.5Mb, but does contain some interesting perspectives from a major figure in the London architecture scene - plus a couple of yummy renderings!!
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 07:47 PM   #29
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Thanks Paul. Brilliant find. Well done.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 12:37 AM   #30
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 01:49 AM   #31
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For those who don't have Acrobat Reader, or those with dialup who can't be bothered to download the huge file, I've ripped everything out of it here. Aren't I helpful.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tall buildings and London

High quality, tall buildings can be not only sustainable, they can surprise, delight and inspire their users, argues Lee Polisano.

Love or hate them, towers are part of the fabric of our global urban landscape and they are here to stay. Over the last 100 years they have become icons of heroism, modernity, revolution, freedom. They symbolized a new way of living and came to express the corporate identity of successful enterprises and the egos of those who controlled them. They represented capitalism, wealth, dominance and power.

But what will the tower of the 21st century symbolize? In an evolving global landscape that is increasingly under pressure from a burgeoning urban population, tall buildings have the potential to play a significant role in re-invigorating and sustaining our cities of the future, including the future of London.

If we are to have an appreciation for why London needs to build taller and what might lie ahead for our city, we need to understand the “context” that has brought us to this point in time.

Global context

Within the next 25 years, 80 per cent of the world’s population will live in our cities and our urban centres. Most of this increase will happen in cities that we have never heard of. The manner in which we occupy this earth will also need to change. Currently in the UK, we are occupying three times our earthshare and our proportional share of the earth’s resources. As the world’s population continues to rise and our available resources continue to shrink, we will soon be unable to sustain our escalating population growth and our current way of living, unless we adjust many things, including our built form. Taller buildings, are giving cities the capacity to increase density and maintain a high quality of life for large numbers of people. This is not unique to London.





Many of our cities are becoming more powerful than entire countries (Fig. 1). The GDP of London almost equals that of Saudi Arabia; and If New York were a nation, it would rank as the 16th largest economy in the world, behind South Korea. Megalopolises are the way of the future – today there are 22 cities that have a population over 8 million inhabitants. It is cities not countries that are now competing with each other, each striving to symbolize their success through their skyline. But what does this mean for London?

London context

London is one of a handful of truly global cities. In order for it to retain this position, it is important to recognize that its policies and the way its future growth and development are planned and administered must be different from that of the rest of this country.

London has evolved as a polycentric city with varying densities – originating as a commercial trading city along the river it now has a variety of building topologies reflecting the different aspects of its growth into a modern city; Covent Garden (lowrise dense theatre district), Oxford Street (hi-density shopping) to Canary Wharf (Americanized skyscrapers). Although, there are several areas which have emerged with proposals for tall buildings in London, it must be recognized that for most of its history, London has lacked a comprehensive set of planning guidelines administered across its boroughs. In many ways London’s development has been unplanned and free wheeling capturing the true underlying principle (economic) which has governed its growth.

In many ways London is also perfectly placed for tall buildings; with increased investment in its existing infrastructure, it has the capacity to handle massive amounts of people and - this is a critical factor in the success of a taller built form.

The City of London

The ‘City’ is the engine for the London economy, a global financial center. It is pro growth and is the only part of London that has a cohesive tall buildings policy (Fig. 2). They have defined a ‘cluster’ which in many ways is setting a precedent for tall building development for a 21st century London. Our buildings, The Bishopsgate Tower (DIFA) and the Heron Tower, are both located within this cluster (Fig.3).








When we first started working on tall buildings here in London, we developed a three dimensional model of the city to assist us with understanding this unique urban landscape and the policies that governed it (Fig. 4). What has come out of this has been a CAD technologies research lab which has informed our approach to high-rise design. Advances in computer programmes give rise to an exploration of form which was previously impossible.





The context of the City and the policy constraints are the overriding factors in the design approach to both Heron and The Bishopsgate Towers. Both are designed around the principle of creating multi-faceted sculptural objects, seen “in the round”, that change and vary in profile when viewed from different points in London – similar to viewing the human figure. They each have a unique individual role within the cluster; one form an edge condition to the cluster and the other is the apex of the group (Fig 5).





Heron Tower sits on the perimeter of the cluster. The site used to be the gateway point into the marketplace of the old town. Our design remarks the importance of this place through the location and positioning of the cores and building mass. It is a response against the typical monolithic appearance of a centre core building. Heron’s offset core creates a building whose elevations are differentiated, allowing the building to respond to its orientation and its context. The building’s articulation modulates its mass and allows its form to be legible (Fig. 6).





The Bishopsgate Tower in contrast, is the building that will become the centrepoint of the cluster. As such it has to figurally provide a climax and stand out from the crowd. The creation of the wrapping façade is intended to emphasize the dynamism of its site position and the growth of the towers surrounding it (Fig. 7).





What is interesting about both the Bishopstage Tower and Heron Tower is that they are not really very tall at all when placed on the global stage; and when you look at their height in comparison with their width, they are remarkably slender. These are products of their unique site conditions and the fact that both are to be built on small pieces of land.

As an architect, one needs to decide what the core values of your product are and adhere to them through the design process. These buildings will become the legacy of our generation. Striving for beauty and elegance in our designs goes without saying; however, creating sustainable buildings (economically, socially and environmentally) is of the utmost importance.

With Heron Tower, we challenged the conventional typology of the high rise and developed a response to both the technical and social demands of the modern workplace. The building is organized around a series of office ‘villages’. At the heart of each is a triple-height atrium (Fig 8). We were eager to set a benchmark for environmental performance. The building seeks to minimize energy consumption, reduce harmful emissions and create an excellent working environment for its occupants. These aims have informed the development of the building from its philosophy to its internal organization.





Public realm

The city cluster that Heron and The Bishopsgate Towers sit within has created a morphological shift. With the mass of the buildings being placed into the sky, a network of new public spaces is emerging, as the ground is being freed up. With Heron, we link the series of surrounding public spaces together with the new space that we are creating. By extending the Houndsditch churchyard (St. Botolph’s Church) across Bishopsgate, a green link has been created from Finsbury Circus to Devonshire Square (Fig. 9). We also created an arcade to widen the narrow frontage that currently exists.





The Bishopsgate Tower had to have a streetscape that accommodated a variety of site conditions, formed by the unique urban grain of the site – there were many unused public spaces surrounding the tower that required unification and activation. What we created in response was a fluid base to the tower – reminiscent of the skirts of a southern belle’s dress in movement. The underlying structure – an elegant lattice structure – defines the form, while glass flows like a silk gown over the top, delicately undulating at points to respond to the connectivity that is required to link it to its surrounding urban grain. At the entrance, the façade raises up to allow for a prominent entrance (Fig. 10). It undulates down again at the south wall where the canopy becomes a screen, protecting Bishopsgate from the wind. Both of these buildings also approach public space three-dimensionally by bringing public activity up into their bodies.





A successful tall building depends on the architect coordinating a series of independent and often opposing factors. It is also essential that architects communicate their ideas; getting through the intricacies of the planning process in the UK in many ways is a project in itself. The Heron inquiry, in particular, taught us a great deal about the need to effectively communicate our design and to take on board the needs of the wider community. Too often, stakeholders and policymakers are unwilling to work together; this hinders good design. Tall buildings are the product of a collaborative team effort and require the participation and dedication of all parties involved, if these buildings are to be successful.

Without London having a clear unified policy statement on tall building development, we are breaking new ground all the time. But is this any different than it was in the past centuries?

High quality, tall buildings can be not only sustainable, they can surprise, delight and inspire their users. As architects, we have to be prepared to rise to the challenge, assume responsibility and become the leading innovators in enabling this typology to move forward into the next century by pushing boundaries in design, technology and policy.
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Old July 23rd, 2006, 02:30 AM   #32
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thanks wil, most helpful

I have the fast internet connection, but i have a feeling a 13MB pdf would wreak havoc on my extremely old and slow computer.

Seems interesting......its good to see the tower from some slightly different angles too
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Old July 25th, 2006, 09:32 PM   #33
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Whilst browsing for info on 20 Fenchurch Street, I found the planning committee report on DIFA -

http://tinyurl.com/olrdw

Lots of interesting comments about the impact on various heritage sites, historic roads, etc. and the effect of additional towers such as Leadenhall, Heron and so on. Be warned though, it's incredibly long and you'll never have time to read all of it.
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Old July 25th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #34
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Found this as well. I know it's been posted before, but I haven't seen it for a while -


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Old July 25th, 2006, 11:57 PM   #35
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Wow that looks gawgeous!!! And that shows the smaller version of Heron Tower doesn't it?
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Old July 26th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #36
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Is it just me, or has Tinypic been completely useless recently? I think I'll be using Photobucket from now on...

EDIT: Oh, the image is displaying okay now
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Old July 26th, 2006, 01:25 AM   #37
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Ever picture & rendering I see with Minerva in it the more I want it to be built. It really stretchs the cluster & balances it out- Damn Minerva & their lack of cash
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Old July 26th, 2006, 09:24 AM   #38
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Yeah its not fair. The rendering with it in the cluster in the PDF looks great, real shame they can't build it
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Old August 7th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #39
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They are still digging at the back of of the Bischopsgate tower. This has been going on for more than four weeks right now. Keltbray is executing the works, so it does not look like typical "utility" works. there also a sign that says "warning - deep excavation".
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Old August 7th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #40
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Wow. That is very promising. I guess they're taking the no nonesense approach. Get as much done as possible whilst they can. Then, when they get a tennant, bada boom! No messing about. Straight to errecting the cores.
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