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28,444 Posts
20 June 2008

Benson & Forsyth has revealed its £80 million City North project in London’s Finsbury Park, a mixed-use development of apartments, retail and leisure facilities.

The practice was selected for the 46,000sq m scheme in an RIBA competition ahead of John McAslan & Partners, Panter Hudspith, Flaq and Studio Egret West.

The project aims to provide a coherent framework for regeneration in the area, including 480 apartments alongside cafés and restaurants, retail units and a leisure facility still to be decided on.

Practice principal Gordon Benson said the design would be integrated contextually locally and at the citywide level.

“The chaotic geometry of the nearby railway line has effectively distorted the orthogonal nature of the city grid,” Benson said.

“Our scheme will reinstate an orthogonal geometry at local level, with bold vertical elements to establish its presence in north London and the wider city context.”

The project’s “assembly of volumes” is characterised by a podium over two floors, a raised garden overlooking Finsbury Park at second floor level, and above that an assembly of two towers, one cylindrical, one rectilinear.

“The tall buildings will simultaneously address both the park to the east and the City to the south, and will be an instantly recognisable signature,” said Benson.

The podium “repairs and extends” the existing urban pattern at ground level, and will integrate a proposed new concourse to Finsbury Park Station.

A planning application will be submitted early next year.

28,444 Posts
High Court throws out Hampton Court challenge
5 January, 2010 | By Merlin Fulcher, Richard Waite

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge to block a controversial mixed-use scheme by Allies and Morrison and Quinlan & Francis Terry close to Hampton Court Palace

A deputy High Court judge threw out calls for a judicial review into the decision by Elmbridge Council in October 2008 to allow permission for the Jolly Boatman scheme but acknowledged the authority ‘may have failed’ in their obligation to preserve the setting of the palace.

Judge George Bartlett QC said:‘[T]he council were required to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of Hampton Court Palace and, in view of this duty, an important issue was whether the river frontage of this site should be kept free of substantial development.

‘There is in any view a clearly arguable case […] that, while detailed consideration was given to the design of the proposed buildings, the council failed to apply the statutory requirement […] and failed to address this important issue’.

But the application for a judicial review was rejected because the applicant failed to register his objections prior to the planning permission being granted and was deemed to lack ‘standing’.

The scheme, which features a 61 bedroom hotel, 66 residential units, a Royal Star & Garter care home and refurbishment to buildings at Hampton Court Station, is now expected to go-ahead. But the man who brought the legal challenge, Keith Garner – a former Royal Historic Palaces employee and conservationist architect – says he will not give up yet.

‘It’s a question about where buildings should go and their simply should not be buildings at this site,’ said Garner, who added: ‘I will apply for a permission hearing in the High Courts to consider the issue of standing’.

The scheme, originally by Allies & Morrison alone, won the backing of Cabe and English Heritage after Quinlan and Francis Terry were brought in to redesign the facade for the hotel building closest to the historic palace (pictured top).

Paul Lemar, land and planning director at developer Gladedale said they were ‘delighted that hopefully the scheme will start to move forward’.

But asked when work was expected to commence on site, Lemar said: ‘We will ensure that we have an implementable planning permission before commencing with pre-commencement conditions, such as detailed working drawings’.

Royal Historic Palaces have consistently opposed the scheme and have been joined by a chorus of dissenters including historian David Starkey.

‘We believe that the size, scale and density of the proposed scheme will have a detrimental and irreversible effect on the historic setting of Hampton Court Palace,’ said John Barnes, Director of Conservation and Learning at Historic Royal Palaces.

‘Historic Royal Palaces was supportive of the application to the High Court and naturally we are disappointed at the decision. However, we are pleased to note that the judge concluded that the council had failed to take sufficient account of the importance of preserving the setting of the palace.’

28,444 Posts
A Global City Bounces Back
By Boris Johnson | NEWSWEEK
Published Dec 7, 2009
Issues 2010

If you want a symbol of how London is powering its way out of the global recession, let me direct you to a building site a couple of hundred yards from my office in city hall.

They said it couldn't be done. They said the credit crunch would kill it off. And yet up it goes, the Shard of Glass by visionary architect Renzo Piano. When it is complete, this 306-meter-tall skyscraper, located near London Bridge station, will be the tallest building in Europe, and I am thinking of moving in just for the view of France.

There are sectors of the London economy that seem not to have even noticed that the recession ever descended. Box-office takings at our 52 West End theaters, for example, are up 5 percent 2009 over 2008—even though 2008 set a record. Retail sales in central London also continue to be strong, and the housing market is visibly returning to life.

Meanwhile, independent authorities have confirmed that London's financial-services sector—for all its difficulties—is better placed than New York's to come through the recession. And financial services are only a part of the London economy. We also are home to four of the world's six biggest law firms. We have a global lead in academic health science; more top universities than any other capital; and the most powerful media, culture, and artistic sector in Europe—if not the world. In order to stay on track, however, we need to avoid some elementary mistakes and to get some big basic things right.

We need to maintain the conditions that allow business and entrepreneurship to flourish in London. With this in mind, I will campaign against some of the bad drafting in new EU legislation on hedge funds and private equity: not just because these directives, if unamended, are bad for London but because they are bad for Europe. They would simply drive firms and talent to other jurisdictions outside the EU.

I will also campaign vigorously against the imposition of high marginal rates of taxation. They stifle initiative. They drive away wealth creators. Such measures didn't work in the 1970s, when exorbitant rates of more than 80 percent were introduced, and they won't work today.

For the same reason, I will fervently oppose any excessive persnicketiness in the recently introduced regulations governing non-doms—foreign workers not permanently based in Britain—and the points-based visa system that imposes new controls on skilled foreigners working here. London is currently home to speakers of some 300 languages and consistently attracts some of the cleverest and most imaginative people from around the world. We must be careful to construct rules that allow us to control immigration—but that do not diminish our status as a global magnet for talent. And we need to work steadily to boost the competitive attractions of our city so that it becomes an ever better place to live.

That is why we are investing so massively in public transport, with the biggest program of rail upgrades since the Victorian age. We are not only putting air conditioning in the Tube for the first time in its 150-year history. We are also expanding the capacity of the London Underground by 30 percent and introducing a new east-west high-speed link in the form of Crossrail—a truly awesome piece of engineering that from 2016 will deliver the first fast connection between Heathrow airport and the City and Canary Wharf.

We are expanding the Docklands Light Railway by 50 percent, and we have just launched the first orbital overground route with a link from Clapham to the Docklands. Above all, we are harnessing the Olympic budgets to deliver change and improvements throughout London. We are investing £9.3 billion in the Olympic site, and our dream is to ensure that the East End will no longer be a synonym for second best, no longer a place people leave—but will become a destination of choice.

In the next 1,000 days we want to see Olympic improvements made all over London, in projects that will improve the look and feel of our city by improving the quality of our streets, squares, and parks. These projects will include a new bike-hire scheme and cycle superhighways (which will provide safe, fast, and direct routes for cyclists into central London). We are planting thousands of trees and are pushing for a dramatic increase in the use of electric and other zero-carbon vehicles.

We want to combine in London the attractions of the world's small cities—which are clean, green, safe, and have efficient public transport—with the energy, ambition, and cultural diversity of a great metropolis. We want London to be the best big city on earth in which to live and do business.

Johnson is the mayor of London.

© 2009

28,444 Posts
Tate's £215m extension work begins
Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent

Work began today on the new £215million extension for Tate Modern which is scheduled for completion in time for the 2012 Olympics.

Mayor Boris Johnson joined Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota at the launch of preparatory work for the development at Bankside. The gallery aims to double its space and create vital teaching areas. Five million people a year now visit a gallery designed for two million.

The work will forge a route from the Millennium Bridge through Tate Modern to two new public squares and the rest of Southwark. The extension will start when part of the site still used as an electricity substation becomes free.

28,444 Posts
Article found by Jon10.


East London Line to re-open by May, Boris confirms

THE East London Line will re-open to the public on May 23, Boris Johnson has confirmed.

The London Mayor visited a new station at Shoreditch High Street to view progress on the £1 billion works which will form part of the London Overground network.

Docklands stations such as Wapping, Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays will all form part of the line, which will run from Hackney to Croydon with 12 trains per hour.

The work has been going on for two years and was originally scheduled to finish by summer 2010. Some testing with passengers on board may even take place before May 23.

"The new East London Line will radically transform access to the transport system for many thousands of people across the capital," said the Mayor.

"The project will mean shorter and more enjoyable journeys, less congestion, and will support regeneration up and down the line. It demonstrates clearly why investment in our transport network is so important."

The line will connect in the north with the rest of the London Overground network at Camden Road in January 2011.

The following year, the East London Line Phase 2 will connect Surrey Quays with Clapham Junction in the south.


28,444 Posts
Architects go green for 2010
Rowan Moore Rowan Moore

Architecture by Rogers Stirk Harbour. “Exclusive interior design” by Candy and Candy. “Legendary service” by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Security by the SAS, or at least with the advice of former SAS “operatives”.

This is One Hyde Park, the Xanadu and Fort Knox of modern luxury living, the development whose epic expensive penthouses — a reported £100 million each — have already made headlines.

Its four towers now rise over the tree line of Hyde Park, and the development is due to be completed this autumn. It aims to be, and probably will be, the ultimate in super-expensive apartment buildings.

Here everything from the bullet-proof glass, iris scanners and panic rooms, to the spas and health treatments, to the crisp precision of the architecture, to the prime Knightsbridge location, gives your average squillionaire all the security, and all the massaging of body and ego, that he could possibly want.

One Hyde Park will be one of London's biggest architectural events in 2010, and if its concept does not seem entirely in sync with the zeitgeist, its developers will reassure themselves with the knowledge that the ultra-wealthy never really go away.

It also reflects the fact that, construction being a slow business, it tends to keep on going, like a Looney Tunes character running over a cliff after all visible means of support have been removed.

So cranes are still whirring over the London skyline, and other glossy works by big-name architects are going up.

Foster and Partners' bulbous City office building called The Walbrook, a bit Samurai and a bit Flash Gordon with its overlapping horizontal striations, is nearly complete.

The cladding is now going on to One New Change, Jean Nouvel's office and retail building next to St Paul's. The structure is also nearly complete on KPF's Heron Tower, which will be the tallest building in the City.

But if big corporate stuff is still going up much as it has for a decade, and if the names Foster and Rogers figure as prominently as they have at any time these past 30 years, it's also clear that things won't go on as they have been for ever.

There is a long pent-up feeling among architects that there is more to life than shiny, glossy, “iconic” things, a feeling which might now find expression in things that are actually built.

Or grown, as vegetables are coming into fashion. The Bath-based architects Mitchell Taylor Workshop have proposed a temporary City Farm on the site in Leadenhall Street where Rogers Stirk Harbour's “cheesegrater” tower is due to be built, at some now-deferred point in the future.

The idea of putting marrows and goats, as if in some miniature post-capitalist Eden, on a spot designated for stainless steel and glass, could hardly be more symbolic.

There is also Bankside Urban Forest, a project to make the hard-edged hinterland of Tate Modern more sylvan.

This is both literal — there will be more greenery — and metaphoric, in that the architects Witherford Watson Mann hope to enhance the experience of wandering, as you might in a wood, in the area's little streets.

An early project for the Forest is a Green Arch, in which a brick railway vault is to be smothered in planting.

Thanks to fancy modern technology, greenery will extend to the dark underside where plants don't usually grow.

There is talk, too, of growing temporary tree nurseries, market gardens and allotments on the swathes of empty land that will be left around the Olympic site after 2012, awaiting development.

Paul Finch, the new chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, is an enthusiast for this idea, which increases its chances of happening.

And there is the just-finished arboretum at Barking Town Square, by muf architecture and art.

This is the latest stage in a plan to beautify the battered centre of Barking, whose previous phases included a pretend ruin, like some 18th-century garden folly, built to conceal the rear end of an Iceland.

What these projects have in common is not just a love of growing things but also a desire to adapt what's there, rather than make everything afresh.

There's a willingness to see beauty in viaducts and eastern suburbs.

There's also a wish to connect with people at some level other than visual shock and awe, the thing that John Prescott once called the “wow factor”.

A building like One Hyde Park, or The Walbrook, tries to impress you with the force of its shape, and with the collective willpower invested in the consistency of its detail.

It takes a lot of determination to get tonnes of steel and concrete, manoeuvred by expensive machines and hundreds of men on muddy, weatherbeaten sites, to line up exactly as the architect wants it, and you can feel the force of this determination in the completed building.

By contrast, the trees and the faux-ruin of Bankside and Barking try to touch your senses, provoke associations, engage the memory and the imagination.

It's a more fragile, less assertive way of designing places, and it remains to be seen if it will truly flourish in the brutal world of construction and development.

For if 2010 will see the rise of the vegetable and the last hurrah of Noughties über-luxury, there will be huge numbers of less eye-catching projects that will manifest the inexorable march of the project manager.

Many new and refurbished schools will be ground out under the Government's gigantic Building Schools for the Future programme, whose processes eliminate the possibility of delight and quality in the name of efficiency and certainty.

The extended East London line will open, the most significant addition to the Tube network since the Jubilee line extension opened a decade ago, but with considerably less splendid stations.

A bluntly functional bridge, now crossing Shoreditch High Street, and built to serve the East London line, gives an idea of the spirit of the project.

The biggest constructional event of 2010 will be on the site for the Olympics. All the buildings for the Games have to be complete by 2011, which means a succession of them will be substantially finished this year.

The first to be completed is an electrical substation by the Glasgow and Dublin-based practice Nord.

It is a dark brick cuboid, a dignified if sombre work in the traditions of industrial buildings like Bankside power station.

Other Olympic projects will strive to be more jolly and upbeat. The site is impressive, vast in extent, active from end to end, and now marked with the nearly complete stadium and the roof structures of the velodrome and the aquatic centre.

The project has also been marked so far by its relatively low number of bad news stories about overruns of cost and budget, but the big question will be whether the safety-first approach to achieving the Olympics will result in a place of bone-aching, risk-free dullness. 2010 will be the year in which we find out.

28,444 Posts
Blackrock beats Macquarie to City’s Drapers Gardens


By Laura Chesters

Asset manager leaps to lease 210,000 sq ft scheme leaving Australian bank with few options

Asset manager Blackrock has gazumped Macquarie Bank in a huge leasing deal in the City of London.

Macquarie had agreed to take 210,000 sq ft at Canary Wharf Group and Exemplar Properties’ Drapers Gardens scheme in October but in the days before Christmas Blackrock gazumped the Australian bank and has now placed under offer the entire 270,000 sq ft scheme, which was completed at the end of 2009.

Blackrock is the preferred tenant as it is taking the entire building and is though to be paying close to £50/sq ft, whereas rents were closer to £45/sq ft when Macquarie began talks.

Blackrock’s deal is a sign the City market is improving all the time, and that occupiers are being forced to move quickly to secure space as availability of large new-build space shrinks.

The only remaining large spaces left for Macquarie are Minerva’s the Walbrook or at Canary Wharf.

Blackrock has also pushed McDermott Will & Emery off the scene at Drapers Gardens. The international law firm had been in advanced talks to take 50,000-60,000 sq ft for its move from 7 Bishopsgate.

Macquarie wants to move from City Point when its lease expires in 2011. Its options were limited further last month when Royal Bank of Canada negotiated terms to sublet 170,000 sq ft from hedge fund manager Man Group at 320,000 sq ft Riverbank House.

RBC will take the property on a 25-year lease at £45/sq ft. Evans Randall is forward-funding the scheme, which is being developed by Pace Investments.

However, law firm Stephenson Harwood this week decided not to take 110,000 sq ft at St Martins Property Company’s 150 Cheapside. Talks began last summer. St Martins had chosen Stephenson Harwood ahead of occupiers such as TLT Solicitors. But late last year St Martins tried to renegotiate terms and the deal was finally terminated at the end of last year. Knight Frank will continue to search for the law firm.

18,972 Posts

28,444 Posts
Dexter Moren wins go-ahead for Japan-style pod hotel for Trocadero

12 January, 2010 |

A Japanese-style ‘pod’ hotel, designed by Dexter Moren Associates, is to be built in the Trocadero in London’s Piccadilly Circus

Westminster City Council has given the green light to planning permission for the hotel, which will occupy the second to seventh floors in the Grade II-listed building as part of a larger 53,495 m² mixed-use leisure and retail scheme.

Each of the hotel’s 495 en-suite bedrooms will measure just 12m² to 17m², inspired by capsule hotels in Japan.

It will be the first time the upper floors of the building have been used since they were home to the UK’s biggest indoor theme park Segaworld.

Councillor Alastair Moss, chairman of Westminster Council’s Planning and City Development Committee, said: ‘The designs for this hotel are a good example that bigger does not equal better, and take into account that when people come to central London with its vast array of attractions and things to do they do not always need or want a large room.’

Sheppard Robson, who was part of the original design team for a previously approved scheme (AJ online 09.05.08), is no longer involved in the project.

28,444 Posts
British Museum Extension

Secretary of State refuses to 'call in' Rogers' British Museum plans
13 January, 2010
By Merlin Fulcher

The Secretary of State John Denham has rejected demands to ‘call in’ Richard Rogers’ contentious extension to the British Museum in central London

In December both the Camden Civic Society and Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC) urged Denham to hold a public inquiry into the proposed five-storey development which they believe will blight the landmark.

Rogers Stirk Harbour’s £135m scheme, which will improve exhibition and conservation facilities, was granted planning permission on 17 December 2009 – after initially being rejected because of concern over the impact to existing grade-I listed structures.

A statement published by the government (attached, see right) said: ‘The Secretary of State is satisfied that the planning issues …have been adequately dealt with by the council and that the application does not raise issues of more than local importance’.

Hero Granger-Taylor of the Camden Civic Society said: ‘On one level, I am not surprised by the Secretary of State’s decision: an inquiry would have meant a lot of washing of dirty linen in public, and he cannot have wanted that to happen’.

It is understood the museum wants to start construction as soon as possible.

28,444 Posts
Dock to be drained as Crossrail enters 2010
By John Hill on January 7, 2010 2:48 PM |
Tagged with:

West India Dock will be partially drained in the next few weeks as Crossrail construction continues in Canary Wharf.

Piling has now been completed at the site known as Adams Place, and Crossrail has claimed work is "proceeding to schedule" as the £16billion project enters 2010.

Draining is expected to take place by the end of this month or in early February, and construction is expected to begin down the line at Tottenham Court Road early this year.

With a general election looming this year, the major transport scheme is likely to be used as a political football by all parties over the next few months. Despite the announcement of an agreement in October 2007, questions will be certainly asked about the funding for the scheme, which is shared between the government, businesses and future fare-payers.

Crossrail's chief executive Rob Holden and board chair Terry Morgan began the year by giving a delivery report to the London Assembly's Transport Committee yesterday morning. Committee chair Caroline Pidgeon told The Wharf last month that the future of the project itself "isn't up for discussion", but that the meeting would help the committee "monitor" the risks and key milestones in the years leading to its projected opening date in 2017.

Government and business representatives have stressed the importance of the London link to the capital's future, and Canary Wharf Group are among the key backers of the project. CWG is overseeing the delivery of the station in West India Dock, and is looking to add shops and a lattice-rooved green space to the levels above the station itself.

Secretary of State for Transport Lord Adonis joined London Mayor Boris Johnson and Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the official start of Crossrail construction in Canary Wharf on May 15, and all 294 Gilken tubes have now been installed. These will support the station itself, which will form part of a route linking Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, via the City, Woolwich and Tottenham Court Road.

The search is on for a company to tackle the tunnelling itself, which will begin in less than two years, while planning consent is being sought for a tunnelling academy in Newham.

28,444 Posts
City Road hotel, Old Street, London by Squire and Partners

14 January, 2010 | By Richard Waite

Squire and Partners has submitted plans for a 247-room luxury boutique hotel opposite Moorfields Eye Hospital in City Road, London.

The scheme for Soneva Properties will feature a business centre for small and medium-sized local businesses on its first floor and a sky-bar on its 17th floor.

Describing the design of the scheme, a spokesman for the practice said: ‘Responding to the Moorfields Eye Hospital opposite, and taking inspiration from the 1980’s artworks of Bridget Riley, the facade is expressed as a triple glazed skin enlivened with differing patterns of transparency, opacity and solidity to convey diagonal slopes breaking across an underlying vertical structure.

‘Manipulation and modulation of light, both internally and externally, give the facade richness and an ever-changing face on this prominent site, as well as assisting solar performance to create a sustainable development. The conjunction of the vertical and the diagonal create a visual effect of depth and movement, and express the activities taking place within the building.’
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