The Swiss based practice of Herzog & de Meuron, responsible for the Beijing national stadium and the new Portsmouth Stadium on Horsea Island, is proposing three towers of 320, 640 and 800ft respectively, to be the tallest residential projects in the country. The towers located next to the Renzo Piano "Shard" is part of the redevelopment plan for the London Bridge station area.
The towers are to have 380 apartments, , along with a hotel, retail and cinema space. The tallest tower, which would be 65 storeys, would include 121 flats along with the hotel, the other tower will have a total of 115 flats contained within 51 storeys while the shortest, at 31 storeys, will boast 144 flats. The sheer scale of the project is already dividing opinion among the select few who have seen it which is is to be expected. The reservation felt by many in the U.K is that these buildings do not quite have a place next to more traditional British designed structures as they break with the consistency of "character and Scale." Some sentiment is that the proposals have not incorporated enough parkland into the design as this might help to lessen their perceived impact on the site especially on the street level from a pedestrian point of view.
It is not only surprising that these projects are being planned with what the economy is like in the U.K but also that there has been such fervor in responses about this project when the complete designs and cost estimates have not been unveiled yet and will not be till mid February. Still, it is commendable of Herzog & de Meuron to be planning such a large scale project in light of the economic crunch and I know that i am the first to always condemn a building design that clashes with its surroundings but these days, any project is a good project mainly because I don't think there is anymore room or money for frivolous designs. But I will withhold further comment till there are more details on the project in its entirety.
Image obtained from buildingdesignonline.com
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