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Group Balks at ‘Paddington Pole’ Height

Friday, December 11, 2015

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London’s heritage group hopes an architect and developer who want to add another seven stories to a planned 65-story London skyscraper in an historic part of the city will change their tune, reports say.

Italian architect Renzo Piano’s proposed skyscraper next to London’s Paddington Station is expected to dramatically change central London and the skyline, the The Architect’s Journal (subscription only) reported.

Historic England’s planning and conservation director Nigel Barker wrote Monday (Dec. 7), “[We have] very serious concerns indeed about the impact of the proposals on the historic environment,” according to AJ.

Measuring Up

According to bdonline, the original height of the tower was expected to be 224 meters (735 feet) when it was revealed less than two months ago.

That would have put it at 65 stories, the publication said. Now, developer Sellar Property Group and engineer WSP want to increase that size to 254 meters (833 feet) tall.

Sellar chairman Irvine Sellar has said the plans will kickstart the proposed Paddington in much the same way The Shard has done at London Bridge, the publication reported. Both Piano and Sellar are behind both projects.

“The change in height is part of a number of changes to the scheme, as a result of our ongoing consultation with the local community and our stakeholders,” Sellars said in a statement. “As such, the curved design of the tower has evolved and its height has increased.

The multi-use scheme will create a new landmark for London,” the statement continued. “The development will benefit the tens of thousands of passengers that use Paddington Station each day, improving connectivity and supporting the growth of this important part of London.”

But Barker said he disagrees with the developer’s opinions.

“If there is another way of achieving the public benefits the scheme is said to deliver that avoids those impacts—particularly through a much lower building—then the National Planning Policy Framework and the local plan would direct the developer and Westminster to that alternative,” he said, according to AJ.

Tower Features

As bdonline reported, the tower—which has been dubbed by Londoners as the “Paddington Pole”—is being built at a former Royal Mall sorting office at 31 London Street.

Construction is expected to start in August 2016 with a completion date of 2020.

The new skyscraper is expected to house 330 apartments, 10,000 square feet of office space and 4,600 square feet of retail space, the publication reported. It also will serve as a public space that could offer a new gateway to Paddington Station.

Historians Unconvinced

Those details appear to matter little to its critics who want to see the area’s historic heritage conserved.

“Allowing the Paddington Pole to be built is tantamount to opening the flood gates,” Barker wrote, according to AJ. “If this is allowed to happen, there will be no end to the number of towers that will eventually be built across central, north and north-west London.

“This is a defining moment for London’s skyline,” he continued. “We must not let this happen.”


Tagged categories: Architects; Commercial / Architectural; Condominiums/High-Rise Residential; Office Buildings; Retail

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