London is facing a wave of over 200 applications for tall buildings, according to a press conference staged to mark the build-up to ‘London’s Growing…Up!’, an exhibition at New London Architecture.
Peter Vaughan, London-based Director at global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan, the practice that designed London’s tallest residential building ‘The Tower, One St George Wharf’, which has just completed on the bank of the River Thames (pictured above), said:
“In the absence of planning frameworks we shouldn’t be surprised that developers believe their site is a good location for a tower – in the absence of a ‘no’, developers understandably assume ‘yes’ and until a city-wide framework sets out what is possible long public enquiries will continue to be required to judge experiments.
“The idea of ‘jumping the river’ is inevitable and entirely right given that historically some of the most impoverished London boroughs, with the space and opportunity necessary for tall buildings, are south of the river. Here you will meet great aspiration tempered with the measure of others experience and the local political and policy community will not get put upon or caught out.
“Real estate has always been currency and today’s gold standard happens to be London residential. But there won’t be a ‘wall of development’ south of the river due to the constraints that do exist.
“However, there are clear opportunities for needle and point buildings, rather than clusters of tall buildings, at key river crossing and transport interchanges.
“The tall building clusters that exist in The City and at Canary Wharf are such for particular reasons – sitting inland of the river. It’s interesting to see that the Walkie Talkie has crossed the road southwards, revaluing the entire street.
“The South Bank, can and should, accommodate a ‘ribbon of high points’ in contrast to the constrained environment north of the river.
“Tall buildings are inherently demanding of their urban setting, whether at a street level or in skyline profile – there’s little of modesty – so it’s right that they are scrutinised, compelled to be of best quality and that much is demanded of them. It’s entirely wrong for buildings to depend on third parties to solve their issues, they need their own solutions and to give more than they take.
“Towers set the forward agenda for wider development – the Shard becomes London Bridge Quarter and The Tower becomes Nine Elms.”
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