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Discussion Starter #1
Herzog & de Meuron plans London towers
16 January 2009
By Will Hurst

Swiss practice is working with Shard developer on UK’s tallest residential development

Herzog & de Meuron is working with the developer behind the Shard, Sellar Property Group, on credit crunch-defying designs for the tallest residential development in the country.



In an extraordinary move given Britain’s worsening recession, the Swiss-based practice is proposing three slender and snaking towers with respective heights of 100m, 200m and 250m, close to the 310m-high Renzo Piano-designed Shard and soon-to-be-redeveloped London Bridge station.

If successful, the glazed scheme, dubbed the Three Houses project and masterminded by Sellar managing director James Sellar, who also commissioned Herzog & de Meuron for the proposed new Portsmouth FC stadium, would signal the emergence of a long proposed cluster of skyscrapers at London Bridge to rival those of Canary Wharf and the City.

The towers, which would dwarf Ian Simpson’s proposed 175m-high Beetham Tower at Blackfriars, would boast 380 apartments, along with a hotel, and retail and cinema space. But the sheer scale of the project is already dividing opinion among the select few who have seen it.

Fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, whose home and studio would be overshadowed by the proposed skyscrapers, has seen early plans and backs the scheme, but said it needed modification before being submitted for planning.

“This would fit in with the Shard,” she said. “These blocks would be good for the area and will tie in with other things going on. At the moment, this area is only car parks and needs reworking.”

But Rhodes also called for the scheme to include parkland, and for the tower nearest to the Bermondsey Street conservation area to be modified to lessen its impact. “You don’t need blocks annihilating Bermondsey Street,” she said.

New London Architecture director Peter Murray also gave the scheme his support.

“It’s quite a brave thing to be proposing at the moment,” he said.

“But they are looking at a very long-term plan, which is always a good thing.”

However, officers at Southwark Council are believed to have serious reservations about the height of the towers, a view echoed by local developer and conservation specialist Russell Gray.

“High-rise buildings have a place,” he said. “But this is slap bang next to buildings of consistent character and scale. I’m not impressed by this brash, brazen, in-your-face approach.

“If it got permission, it would establish a precedent… and you could do something a lot cheaper and nastier.”

The tallest tower, which would be 65 storeys, would include 121 flats along with the hotel, while the shortest, at 31 storeys, will boast 144 flats. The other tower will have a total of 115 flats contained within 51 storeys.

Sellar Property Group declined to comment, but is due to unveil the project officially with Herzog & de Meuron in mid-February.

The Shard itself is set to be the tallest tower in Europe. Work on the skyscraper — part of a wider £1.4 billion complex — is due to begin this month after a vital investment was made last month by Middle Eastern developer Qatari Diar.

JAMES SELLAR
The 35-year-old managing director of Sellar Property Group has emerged from his father Irvine’s shadow as a patron of high-quality architecture. He has commissioned Herzog& de Meuron for a stadium for Portsmouth FC and appointed David Chipperfield to work up plans for a major office scheme in the City of London.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oh someone take that stray line at the end of the thread title please! It wasn't meant to be there.
 

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Smoggie- I bet you wish you went to the pre-christmas meeting when he would have got a sneaky peak at these ;)

Does anybody if the site includes the nondescript office block of around 10 storeys that you see on approach to London Bridge Station. I would imagine this getting scaled back & would have thought the three towers would have steeped down from LBT rather than have the 2 tallest furthest away. Its doesn't take much of a walk to leave LBT & find yourself in lower rise council estates & blocks.

I don't necessarily see this as a precedent though as there is not much scope to develop tall blocks to the East of the site.

I wonder it the Arab consortium helping Sellar fund the London Bridge quarter will be wiling to invest in these as well.

I wonder how the SE1 lot will think of these ;)
 

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I wasnt sure if this was going to be on the site where its just a large car park at the moment at the junction of Bermondsey St, SNowfieldds and ST Thomas St?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Why towers must aim high
16 January 2009
Amanda Baillieu

Herzog & de Meuron’s towers will reignite a debate about London’s skyline that ought to be solely about good architecture

For sheer audacity, the three residential towers proposed by Herzog & de Meuron for a site near to Renzo Piano’s Glass Shard have already won a place in history. While the economic slump is seeing many of London’s towers cancelled or mothballed, along comes the Shard’s developer with a scheme that is just as daring and bold.

It is of course a strange time to be launching luxury flats — even if they are many years away — which a quick back-of-envelope calculation makes clear would be wildly expensive to build. This is before asking if there is anyone left who, in a global downturn, can afford one of the apartments, which will boast views of the English Channel.

At the same time, it’s immensely comforting to know that not all developers have hung up their boots quite yet. When what architecture we have is at risk of being slashed or squeezed, surely we need something to look forward to?

But the towers’ official unveiling next month will also be a cue for English Heritage and others to take up the cudgels for London’s threatened skyline. The well rehearsed argument is that tall buildings are simply gimmicks and shape-making, which have no place in a historic city. Even with a recession, it is not an issue that will easily go away. The developer will respond by saying that the Shard has set a precedent for towers in this part of Southwark, but it is also a conservation area steeped in history which the council has so far been extremely keen to protect.

There is no reason why old and new London cannot exist side by side and even complement each other. But the conservation lobby has never found this view persuasive.

On the other side are those who say that buildings like the Shard are stunning icons which London needs if it is to retain its competitive edge. Both sides make valid points but rarely do they touch on what seems the most important argument of all — that simply to allow tall buildings “where appropriate” is not good enough. Buildings that are prominent on the skyline and that jump scale so dramatically must be by a world-class architect. On this at least the developer behind Herzog & de Meuron’s new triple towers has got it right.
 

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The Shard would look much better standing alone.
Thats was never going to happen though was it?

Guys is not about to be demolished and the amount of prime redevelopment land around here means alot more talls will probably pop up in future.

The shard and the redevelopment of London bridge was always going to be a catalyst for more development south of the river. The Tate modern + extension and the three rogers towers plus Bankside all goes to show that development south of the river is only going to pick up pace once these are compleated.
 

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I'm sure we'll get some decent renderings, but based on this diagram I don't like it. The design seems rather childish and silly.

The Shard would look much better standing alone.
you beat me to it! i was going to write EXACTLY the same!

From that picture, until these renders come through, i dont believe they deserve to be next to the shard!

It takes the main focal point away from the shard.
 

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I'm sure we'll get some decent renderings, but based on this diagram I don't like it. The design seems rather childish and silly.
I agree, it looks like a 5-year-old's attempt at a Lego tower - all wonky (and probably made of loads of different coloured bricks). However, will reserve judgement until renderings appear.

I'm also a bit worried in too many clusters appearing - could end up with a 'gap-toothed' skyline caused not by randomly dispersed towers, but by numerous mini-clusters all over the city...
 

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but yes, more and more will be proposed around the shard which is a good thing, im looking forward to the renders!
 

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I agree, it looks like a 5-year-old's attempt at a Lego tower - all wonky (and probably made of loads of different coloured bricks). However, will reserve judgement until renderings appear.

I'm also a bit worried in too many clusters appearing - could end up with a 'gap-toothed' skyline caused not by randomly dispersed towers, but by numerous mini-clusters all over the city...

There will be alot of clusters! i can think of 5 straight away just along the themes or near it¬!
 
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