LondonÂ’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

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London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:20 am

All day, every day, pedestrians stop on a temporary footbridge leading from London Bridge station to Guy’s Hospital and stare in wonder at the vast hole, the size of 25 Olympic swimming pools, that has opened up below them.

The great, noisy, floodlit pit swarms with workers in fluorescent jackets. It bristles with cranes, excavators and jackhammers. And from its centre, on scores of piles sunk deeper than Nelson’s Column and each as thick as two oak trees, protrudes the core of what will soon be Europe’s tallest building.

Credit crunch and critics notwithstanding, the Shard is rising — and it is some “green shoot”. From now on, its steel and concrete skeleton will grow by nearly two storeys a week. Soon it will tower over Guy’s, Borough Market and poor old Southwark Cathedral. By late 2011 it will reach 1,016 ft (310 m), dominating London’s skyline and dwarfing Canary Wharf (771 ft), the Gherkin (590 ft) and every other landmark in the capital.

Designed by Renzo Piano, the Italian architect, it would have been taller still, 1,450 ft, had the Civil Aviation Authority not imposed the 1,000 ft limit. “We got away with the extra 16 because we’re on lower ground,” Irvine Sellar, the market-stall holder turned property magnate behind the £1.4 billion project, says with a chuckle.

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When completed in May 2012, the Shard will be a “vertical city” with the 12 highest apartments in the UK, a five-star hotel, offices, restaurants, bars and shops. More than 12,000 people will work there and in the 17storey “Baby Shard” next door. The four floors of public galleries will have views of the South Downs, the Channel or France — depending on which promotional claim you believe.

Where nine glass facades that encase the Shard meet in a splintered pinnacle, there will be a “contemplation room”.

The 87-storey Shard will contain 17,000 tons of steel, 54,000 cubic metres of concrete and 56,000 square metres of glass — all on a footprint of one acre. It will have 44 lifts, two running from top to bottom, and 306 flights of stairs.

But there will be only 48 parking spaces. This is because it will stand atop new London Bridge bus and train stations served by six rail lines, two Tube lines and 15 bus routes. During the construction, a monitoring team is constantly watching for ground movements that could shift the railway lines a ruinous millimetre, or for vibrations that could disrupt the sensitive electron microscopes in Guy’s.

The Shard has plenty of critics. English Heritage calls it “a spike through the heart of historic London”. Simon Jenkins, the National Trust chairman and newspaper columnist, calls it “a relic of Ken Livingstone’s desperate bid to imitate Manhattan or Dubai, a thundering great icon to the debt mountain plonked down in Southwark’s still intimate streetscape like a phallus from capitalist outer space”.

But its proponents see it as a symbol of the capital’s recovery — concrete (and glass) proof of the city’s world-class status. They say that it will regenerate the run-down heart of old London, and that building the city upwards means it need not spread outwards: “tall not sprawl”.

It is a “tangible example of how the capital is powering its way out of the recession,” Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, says. It “is a clear and inspiring example of confidence in the capital’s economy”.

His predecessor, Mr Livingstone, has predicted that the Shard “will be for London what the Empire State Building is for New York”. Mr Sellar proclaims that it will be a “symbol for London that will last for centuries”. He quickly adds: “At least two.”

For Mr Sellar, 70, the Shard is the culmination of what he calls a “very long journey”. He was raised in North London, left school at 16, opened a market stall in St Albans at 17, sold flared jeans on Carnaby Street in the Swinging Sixties, and built up the Mates fashion chain. Retail led to property development. He went bust in the crash of 1990, but bounced back and is now worth £210 million, according to The Sunday Times Rich List. He lives in Mayfair and drives a black Rolls- Royce with the number plate BUY 1S.

Mr Sellar bought Southwark Towers, an ugly 1970s office block that the Shard will replace, for £37 million in 1998. Mr Piano produced a design based, he says, on the church spires and tall ship sails of Canaletto’s 18th-century London. They applied for planning permission only months after the destruction of the World Trade Centre, which, says Mr Sellar, “very nearly scuppered it” — the Shard will have “refuges” built into its core.

The plan scraped past the council, but then faced a public inquiry where conservation groups led by English Heritage claimed that it would usurp St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and London’s skyline. John Prescott, then Deputy Prime Minister, finally granted approval in November 2003 because the proposed tower was “of the highest architectural quality”.

Two of Mr Sellar’s partners dropped out. He lined up finance from Credit Suisse, but the credit crunch put paid to that. Finally, a consortium of Qatari banks rode to the rescue and now has an 80 per cent stake in the project. “There were many, many moments when I thought we might not make it,” Mr Sellar says.

Even now people say that he is crazy to proceed in a recession. Comparable projects, including the “Cheesegrater” and the “Walkie Talkie”, have been put on hold. Office building in London is at its lowest level in 30 years. Commercial rents have halved. But where others see gloom, he sees opportunity. When the Shard is finished, he argues, the recession will be over and London will be desperately short of highly regarded new office space. “You succeed in spite of people, never with their help,” he tells the naysayers. “Our confidence is absolute.”

The Shard certainly excites those looking from the footbridge. “It’s amazing, fantastic,” Angus Murray, a travel agent who comes daily to watch its progress, says. “There was loads of controversy about the Gherkin but people love it now. This will be the same.”

“It’s going to do the area a lot of good,” Alyson Parker, a PA at Guy’s, says. But, she adds: “It’ll make the hospital look like a matchbox.”


The pre-let to Transport for London and a hotel certainly did no harm to its chances of success.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:00 pm

“of the highest architectural quality”.

I like that line...:D
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby malec » Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:44 pm

It's great :)
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Thu Dec 24, 2009 12:09 am

linked to the darlings?
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:50 pm

malec wrote:It's great :)



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbF58CHjZTM&feature=related

Hard not to like it
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby Nick4u1 » Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:13 pm

Oh I dont know, am I being old fashioned saying I find it a real shame seeing london's fantastic Victorian and Georgian architecture getting blotted out by these shiny scrapers which offer nothing more than ones national extension of their you know what?
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Thu May 20, 2010 8:38 am

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/construction_and_property/article7130375.ece


Land Securities is in talks with potential joint venture partners to restart building its “Walkie Talkie” skyscraper on Fenchurch Street in the City of London.

Property developers have said that they are struggling to meet the demand for office space in the City as the economy recovers.

Land Securities, whose portfolio rose 10.3 per cent to £9.5 billion in the year to March 31, said that it had 110,000sq m of developments under way and a further 400,000sq m of development and refurbishment opportunities.

“We are confident in our ability to deliver a substantial development pipeline into a supply constrained market in London, while maintaining a strong focus on growing revenue profit across the group,” the chief executive Francis Salway said.

Land Securities outlined its strategy after reporting a 16.5 per cent rise in adjusted diluted net asset value to 691p a share for the year to March 31, which was in line with expectations. It said that net rental income fell 12.1 per cent to £567 million over the period, largely because of asset sales. It recommended a full-year dividend of 28p, in line with guidance.

While demand for real estate is picking up in the capital, there are fears over the wider real estate market, as price growth slowed in April to 0.8 per cent.

Mr Salway said: “We maintain our view that property values will rise over the next five years but, with the likelihood of volatility in consumer spending and business investment, the path may not always be smooth.”

The rival developer British Land said that it was reviving plans to build a tower on Leadenhall Street, close to Land Securities’ planned development.

The 56-storey “Walkie Talkie”, designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly, was approved in July 2007 after a public inquiry. Last year Land Securities was forced to put back the date for completion of the tower from 2011 to 2014.


It looks just like my NEC P1 mobile phone c1993!!

Icon or Scar?
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby onq » Thu May 20, 2010 10:04 am

Un-be-lievable.

Some Starchitect connects three lines to form a prism, hands it to a legion of revit/archicad baby architects to "design" who output a splinter of glass and call it "architecture".

More faceless, context-less, bland, corporate, flag-waving non-design - this is the face of the financial machine that currently rules the world, its human minions turned into soulless cogwheels - 1984.

For his next trick he'll do the same sketch, turn it through 180 degrees, hand it to the same team and see what kind of inverted pyramid they'll come up with.

No doubt - in a paroxysm of western propaganda - the sloping sides will be used as a means of escape in the latest Bond film - the series that made unlawful killing popular.

Sheesh!

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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby cgcsb » Thu May 20, 2010 11:21 am

@onq, is your aunt flow staying with you for a few days?
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Thu May 20, 2010 11:59 am

ONQ

It would look great from the 42nd floor of 8 Canada Square for tenants asking for money from de bank for their latest ventures; its all about the wow factor which qualified architects can produce. If you want bland go to Bachelors Walk and see what unqualified architects produced.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Thu May 20, 2010 1:02 pm

which prank logo does the video end with that can be folded to make the sit hard.
That video draws many things with USA.

solve that riddle.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Thu May 20, 2010 1:06 pm

PVC King wrote:ONQ

It would look great from the 42nd floor of 8 Canada Square for tenants asking for money from de bank for their latest ventures; its all about the wow factor which qualified architects can produce. If you want bland go to Bachelors Walk and see what unqualified architects produced.


http://badbritisharchitecture.blogspot.com/

who was the intermilan designed by and its sister? say it!

The UK’s first living wall in Islington, North London, has died just three years after it was built. :)

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23827300-council-spends-another-pound-130000-on-living-wall-after-the-first-one-died.do
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby Blisterman » Thu May 20, 2010 4:07 pm

Anything that takes attention away from Guys hospital tower beside it, is good in my eyes. Probably the ugliest building in London.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Fri May 21, 2010 2:19 pm

I don't have any thing against the de ham its the way its folded and shared
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Sat May 22, 2010 10:32 am

Blisterman wrote:Anything that takes attention away from Guys hospital tower beside it, is good in my eyes. Probably the ugliest building in London.



It is a very poor relation to the Trellick Tower in terms of execution; this scar on the South Bank is particularly poor. The more new tall buildings added will certainly have a masking effect on some of the earlier mistakes.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby onq » Sat May 22, 2010 1:20 pm

Blisterman wrote:Anything that takes attention away from Guys hospital tower beside it, is good in my eyes. Probably the ugliest building in London.


That's a bit like putting the apartments on the Crawford's site in Dun Laoghaire on a pedestal because they hide Crofton House.

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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby onq » Sat May 22, 2010 1:23 pm

PVC King wrote:ONQ

It would look great from the 42nd floor of 8 Canada Square for tenants asking for money from de bank for their latest ventures; its all about the wow factor which qualified architects can produce. If you want bland go to Bachelors Walk and see what unqualified architects produced.


I've met Mr. Torpey - "not competent to interpret the building regulations" according to one High Court Judge.

However the permission was granted by the City Manager after very careful scrutiny by the Senior Planner and his retinue.

Surely these qualified persons, charged with looking after the public good by default, would not have permitted anything bad?

I went a little further to Arran Quay and saw what MRIAI's produced, Arran Square - or was that drawn up by their technicians?

Who can say - only someone who worked in their office might have a clue as to who really designed the scheme.

Someone who appears to worship MRIAIs might be embarrassed to find his idols have feet of clay.

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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Sat May 22, 2010 7:13 pm

You seem to have a fine balance between your loathing of anything MRIA's produce and your loathing of the work of the more successful International concept tower pracitioners produce.

As I said in the quote go to the 42nd Floor of 8 Canada Sq and ask them what impresses them; firstly it is wow factor generated by successfully developing a business to the point that you can maintain a business in an iconic building such as the Walkie and secondly it is the qualification which would be assumed but checked for.

I think we can all agree Arran Square is the product of a very different market and would have stayed empty only for the complete scarcity of Barristers Chambers in Dublin 7 pre 145 Church St completing a number of years later; Barristers aren't they members of a professional body?
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby missarchi » Sun May 23, 2010 6:41 am

PVC King wrote: Barristers aren't they members of a professional body?


gold miners?;) I respect the RIAI they use to push promoting architecture...
Now it is only members and there architecture from my out of world experience.
It's where creative partnerships should come in and set an example once and for all.
It's like doctors and nurses...

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2010/0522/1224270869095.html
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Sat Jun 05, 2010 11:28 am

LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K.'s largest real-estate investment trust, Land Securities Group PLC (LAND.LN) will form a joint venture with Canary Wharf Group PLC to build a huge office tower nicknamed the Walkie Talkie in the heart of the city of London, the Financial Times reported Saturday without citing sources.

The newspaper said Land Securities has begun exclusive talks with Canary Wharf, the main subsidiary of Songbird Estates PLC (SBD.LN), to build the 500-foot tower at 20 Fenchurch Street.

Canary Wharf beat off competition from a consortium of North American institutions to get the project, the newspaper added, which is expected to have a construction cost of around GBP350 million.

The joint venture is expected to be finalized early next month, the Financial Times said.

Newspaper Web site: http://www.ft.com



That brings to 4 the number of tall buildings with the funding in place or under construction but not yet complete; it seems the Gherkin really did reignite high rise in the City of London. A lot of pension fund money looking for a home it would appear.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:10 pm

TfL cashes in and checks out of Shard



Transport for London had signed up to occupy a third of the office space in the Shard, which will be completed in 2012
Transport for London will abandon its plans to move into the Shard at London Bridge after a deal that allows the skyscraper’s owners to find tenants willing to pay a much higher rent.

The sale of the lease to London Bridge Quarter, the landlord that is a joint venture between the State of Qatar and Sellar Property Group, will allow it to re-let the 200,000 sq ft involved — more than a third of the available office space — for what it hopes will be more money amid a looming shortage of prime office space in the capital.

The lease with TfL was signed in 2006 for a rate of £38.50 per sq ft for occupation from May 2012, the expected completion date for the building. Office rents in London then plummeted during the downturn and bottomed out last summer, but have recovered rapidly since and are expected to rise further as supply dwindles and demand continues to rise.

The deal allows TfL to raise cash at a time when the transport group is aiming to save £5 billion of costs, £160 million of which is due to come from consolidation of its 50 office buildings around London. It said yesterday that the sale of the 30-year lease would contribute “a multimillion-pound cash sum” to its efficiency savings programme, but would not disclose the amount.


The sharp fall in development during the downturn has resulted in a decline in the pipeline of vacant space in London, especially in the City, relative to the number of occupiers looking for new offices. Landlords including Sellar believe that this will lead to more competition and an increase in rent levels for prime offices around the boundaries of the Square Mile, as well as inside it.

Rents for prime offices in the City have risen to about £50 per sq ft, from a £44 per sq ft low last year, according to Knight Frank. They are expected to continue to increase to £67 per sq ft for the best space by 2014, with the rises spreading out into the City’s fringes, including locations such as London Bridge.

The London Underground owner is likely to move some of its staff further out of Central London rather than to the Shard, but said that it was “too early to say” where it would move and which staff would be affected. TfL said that it would continue to occupy its portfolio of head office buildings and would review options for new accommodation later on.

Charles Stafford, its director of property, said: “TFL secured a great deal for its lease agreement in the Shard in 2006. Since then, rental rates have risen considerably and the deal we have negotiated with London Bridge Quarter reflects this.”

TfL owns offices at Baker Street, Buckingham Palace Road, Broadway and Edgware Road and rents its present headquarters at Windsor House in Westminster, as well as the Palestra Building in Southwark, where it moved in 2008, and Pier Walk, in North Greenwich, which it has occupied since last year.

The TFL letting was one of two pre-lets signed before construction work began on the tower at 32 London Bridge, which will be the tallest in Europe at 310m (1,017ft) when complete. The other, to the Shangri-La hotel group, remains in place.

A spokesman for London Bridge Quarter said: “This agreement enables us to position the Shard at the very top end of the London office market. Together, the Shard and London Bridge Place will deliver more than one million sq ft of grade A offices located on one of London’s busiest transport hubs in a landmark building of the highest quality.”

The development is part of the £2 billion London Bridge Quarter regeneration project around London Bridge Station on the South Bank of the Thames and includes the 419,000 sq ft net London Bridge Place office building, a public piazza, a redeveloped station concourse and a new bus station. The project has been designed by Renzo Piano and will be completed in 2013.

Tall order

310m Height of the Shard, making it the tallest building in the EU

87 Number of floors, 75 of which will be full sized

7,000 People will work in the tower

£425m Cost to build

2012 Estimated completion date

Source: Times research


That is one big play from the Landlord; it is equally very smart from TfL and will no doubt present a very visible saving required from their budget.
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Re: London’s new icon or an ugly scar on the skyline

Postby PVC King » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:28 am

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is set to take over Songbird, the listed owner of Canary Wharf, as the Gulf state steps up its London spending spree. The Qatar Investment Authority, which already owns Harrods and stakes in Barclays and the London Stock Exchange, plans to spend more than £700m to mop up the 76% of Songbird that it does not already own, The Times has learnt.


It would appear that the funding of the Walkie Talkie may not be the only play that Songbird are involved in.
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