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New Skyscraper proposal for London: Creating a new vocabulary

Posted by
on October 28, 2015 at 12:33 PM

While looking at the history of skyscrapers, USA and in particular Chicago have always been considered the last stop for these iconic buildings but now London is proving to be a frontrunner in the building of skyscrapers in the new millennia. The Shard by Renzo Piano at 309 m, 110 Bishopsgate by Dennis Hill, Gene Kohn and Paul Simovic at 230 m and The Cheesegrater by Stirk Harbour & Partners’ at 224 m are today the three tallest buildings in the British capital. Joining them soon will be a fourth also by Renzo Piano, already being dubbed as the ‘Skinny Shard’. The plans for this development were recently revealed, with a public exhibition to follow. 

© Courtesy of Internet Sources

While the design of the new 65 storey building is eye catching, what is more surprising is its location – Paddington. One of the oldest areas of London, it is today famed for two prosaic reasons – the Paddington railway station and St. Mary’s hospital.  Currently, people visit the locality for practical reasons alone but this is what planners want to change. This building by Sellar Property (who also developed The Shard) is part of a one billion pound plan to revitalize the district. Along with Sellar's backing, the scheme has support from Singapore Hotel Properties.

Pics: 1- 9. Views & Sketches of the new proposed skyscaper by Renzo Piano in London

"At the moment you only go to Paddington for two reasons - to catch a train or to see someone in hospital. It is soulless and has no life and yet it is only five minutes from Hyde Park and seven or eight minutes from Marble Arch," Property Group chairman Irvine Sellar said in an interview. "It is a fantastic location but it is stuck in a Fifties time-warp. We intend to create a place for people to go, where they will want to live, work, eat and shop."

The new mixed use proposal that is awaiting approval includes more than 200 apartments, offices, retail, restaurants and a public roof garden. It's slated to rise 224-meters high on a site at 31 London Street. It will stand in a one acre former Royal Mail sorting office site between the station and St Mary’s hospital bought for £111 million last October.  A planning application is expected to be submitted to Westminster council next month, with a completion date scheduled for 2020 – two years after the east-west Crossrail line will open at Paddington station. 

There will also be a huge new concourse, designed to help make it easier for passengers to get to the Bakerloo line.  “The current public realm in Paddington is poor, with congestion in and around the entrance to the Bakerloo line leading to frequent closures. This scheme looks to remedy those issues, while creating a wonderful sense of place which Paddington greatly needs," added architect Renzo Piano. Paddington is a huge transport interchange but “the immediate vicinity is messy and depressing. We can transform it completely. And this is not just talk — everyone can see that we’ve done it already at London Bridge.”

Pics: 8-10: The Shard, London

The concept behind the tower is transparency, “very different to the dark and dense towers that are not very good for London”: the creation of a light and crystal type tower. Unlike The Shard, also designed by Piano, which features a tapered form that references London's historic church spires, the tower at 31 London Street is envisioned as a cylindrical form. It will have restaurants on the 60th, 61st and 62nd storeys, and an open-air roof garden the developers say is inspired by "London garden squares" like Kew Gardens. The project hopes to transform Paddington in the same way that the Shard transformed the London Bridge area. “This site shares much of the same DNA (as London Bridge) with its proximity to a major transport hub with tube, railway lines and bus routes, a neighbouring leading teaching hospital and the potential to provide much-needed quality public realm." With the same developer architect team, hopes are high that this new skyscraper will become more than just a visual icon for the city.

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