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One week after L&G released there futurisitc scheme art Wallbrook & Beetham reveal a similar scheme in Aldgate

From property week



Beetham has unveiled plans for Trinity, a £700m office complex glazed like a ‘cluster of crystals' on the site of Aldgate bus station.


23.06.2006

By Claer Barrett

The Beetham Organization is to submit a planning application this week for Trinity, a 1m sq ft (92,920 sq m) office campus in Aldgate on the eastern fringe of the City of London.

The Foreign Office Architects-designed scheme, exclusively revealed to Property Week, envisages three multi-faceted office buildings with walls that glint like gemstones. Its estimated completion value is £700m.

The tallest of the buildings, at 22 storeys, will have a restaurant, cafe and public viewing gallery on the top floor that overlooks the City.

It will also contain a new entrance to Aldgate Underground station. A glazed public plaza will strike through the centre of the campus, the Circle Line running directly beneath.

The scheme will also involve the comprehensive redevelopment of Aldgate bus station and a new bus terminus will be constructed to the south of the site. Beetham's proposals also include 35,000 sq ft (3,251 sq m) of retail space spread across the three buildings.

‘The architect's brief was to create an office campus, a modern Cutlers Gardens,' says Stephen Beetham, managing director of the Liverpool-based developer. ‘Foreign Office designed the buildings inside out. Despite their angular appearance, they have very regular, rectangular floorplates and central service cores. We felt we could do something special in the sky, and importantly that's a public space.'

Beetham acquired most of the 3.2 acre (1.3 ha) site from Hammerson and Catalyst Capital for £30m in 2004. Currently occupied by two 1970s office buildings - Bain Dawes House and Latham House - the developer will gain vacant possession in March 2007, when demolition is scheduled to begin.

Beetham's adviser, BH2, has added 10 further acquisitions to the site in the last nine months, approaching £13m in value, and has spent more than a year negotiating with Transport for London. The assembled block fronts Aldgate High Street to the north, and is bordered by Minories to the west and Mansell Street to the east. DP9 is advising on planning.

Each of the three office buildings averages 350,000 sq ft (32,515 sq m). Floorplates range from 15,000 sq ft to 35,000 sq ft (1,393 sq m to 3,251 sq m), and Beetham intends to speculatively develop the first 12-storey block. He says the scheme will be financed by a combination of equity and debt.

Insurance policy

‘The location, quality of architecture and range of floorplates mean Trinity will appeal to the insurance sector and related occupiers, and a host of other occupiers,' says Tony Gibbon, partner in BH2, which will also act as the letting agent for the scheme.

‘It is deliberately designed to work as a multi-let estate, although it is also conceivable that the whole of one building could be a headquarters. We are not seeking prelets.'

Alejandro Zaera-Polo, director of Foreign Office Architects, describes his design as a ‘cluster of crystals'.

‘We wanted the complex to work as part of the gothic fabric of the City of London, where you see arcades and public spaces,' he says. ‘This is not to be another high-rise statement. The crystalline aesthetics create the possibility of playing games with reflection and transparency across surfaces, which are not vertical - the default condition in the City.

‘Tilt the surfaces towards the ground and they become more transparent; tilt them towards the sky and they become more opaque as they reflect more light. This creates a kaleidoscopic world where different activities around the buildings and inside the buildings will be brought together as impressions of the City.'

Trinity will have an EC3 postcode by a whisker, although the other side of Mansell Street is in the E1 postal district of Tower Hamlets.

Walking around Aldgate today, it is the place where the City limits merge into the East End. The local pubs, cash-and-carry shops, Bengali restaurants and street markets for which the area is well known nestle alongside a growing array of planned developments.

Directly opposite Trinity is the site of the proposed 50-storey Minerva Tower, although rumours abound of a site sale or potentially smaller development. Omega Land proposes a 300,000 sq ft (27,870 sq m) Wilkinson Eyre-designed scheme at Aldgate Union; Helical Bar plans a 20-storey tower on the site of International House; and Inonder submitted a planning application in March for a 25-storey residential tower.

‘It is nonsense to say that Trinity is off pitch, argues Gibbon. ‘The City is about space over place and, within reason, occupiers want quality space ahead of location. That's why Cutlers Gardens and Broadgate were so successful. Trinity is close to Liverpool Street and Fenchurch Street and will straddle a major public transport interchange.'

The historic site cost means projected rents at Trinity will be £45/sq ft (£484.38/sq m), which Beetham believes will significantly undercut not just prime City rents but those of competing Aldgate buildings.

‘Everyone's looking for prelets but we will be starting on site as soon as we can, which shows our intent,' he says. ‘Our objective is to build and hold for the long term.'

‘This is a very complicated site,' says Peter Rees, City planning officer for Beetham's application. ‘Any scheme that involves relocating a bus station, a new means of access to an Underground station, and has to take into account the backdrop of listed buildings in the City of London requires great ingenuity. And I have to say I'm enjoying working with such ingenious folk.'







 

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Reminds me of something by Rem Koolhaas.

Needs less glass.

Actually it's pretty overbearing but I can't decide if I like it or not, seeing as I gave the Nouvel and Foster proposal my backing.
 

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Sy said:
Looks better than what is currently there!
That being a bus station and two 1970s blocks. A surburban semi from Chafford Hundred would look better than what is currently there, but I wouldn't support that.
 

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london lad said:
projected rents at Trinity will be £45/sq ft (£484.38/sq m), which Beetham believes will significantly undercut not just prime City rents but those of competing Aldgate buildings.
This effectively kills off any chance of Minerva going ahead.
 

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It looks good too. Maybe to much glass but then it is better than all the 60's - 70's concrete rubbish around London so can't complain too much.

The City is moving in the right direction with the small mid rises being built.
 

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yeah sort of, as in no more boring flat roof line, but they do look massive compared to other buildings around them! Not exactly crystals but more like girt boulders!
 

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As much as I love Foreign Office Architects I don't think this is really showing off their style to the maximum.
 

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Awful! I hate this new fad of trapezoid shaped buildings with slanted roofs and irregular walls. It throws everything else out of line. Build straight up, not diagonally.

Puke
 

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Those who know the area will realise how much is going to come down in order to get this dev. going ahead., nice transitional height but the whole thing's a fat fucker.That's a massive plan, i'm afraid it will just bulk up the already cluttered tangle of roads and groundscrapers already in place.
Not sure what this will bring in terms of street level city life enhancement.
 

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DarJoLe said:
That being a bus station and two 1970s blocks. A surburban semi from Chafford Hundred would look better than what is currently there, but I wouldn't support that.
I didn't say it was a great design, but the whole area around there and Aldgate Union is a dump. This will improve the area. Ok the first render makes it stick out like a sore thumb compared to the surroundings but the last three really looking promising.

my only concern is that it looks like it will block the view of the Willis Limestreet buildings from my office :(
 

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I do not like it at all and would much rather have Minerva than this piece of glass shit?

Sometimes the best thing to do is to take a step back. Look at Sir Charles Barry. Designed The Houses of Parliament for Gothic Revival. And look at it. It's a stunner, well renown all over the world.
Why can't today's acrhitects take a leaf out of his book? I mean, there is too much glass! What ever happened to the stone clad buildings of the old age that gave a grand appearance?

It's got brilliant geometry i'll give it that. But way too much glass and over the top. It cries out for attention too much and does not blend in with it's surroundings. You see, this is more important for a ground scraper because you won't be looking up half of the time! It'll be in your face!
With Minerva, it's slender and tall which means it takes little pavement space.

It's alright. But dissapointed if it goes ahead.
 

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eXSBass said:
Why can't today's acrhitects take a leaf out of his book?
Because we don't live in the past. And developers demand grand landmark schemes with as much natural light as possible, with something that doesn't need much maintenance and can easily be redeveloped when the need comes.

And a grand detailed faux gothic stone chintzy buiding just ain't want they want.
 
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