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David Taylor

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Two major office schemes in the City of London have been given the go-ahead by planners. The first project (above left) comprises new offices by Michael Hopkins and Partners near Fleet Street, the nearby Whitefriars House refurbished by the Conservation Practice into offices and a restaurant, and three buildings converted by gma into 52 flats. A 48-space car park will serve all the buildings, developed as part of a £50 million project by Osborne Group and St George North London. The second project, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates' 17,000m2 hq for aig Europe (right) opposite Fenchurch Street Station will comprise three joined glass blocks. Developer is aig Global Real Estate Investment Corporation.

Manser Associates has redesigned an extension to its Hilton International Hotel at Heathrow Airport 10 months after controversially being refused permission for its first £7 million 'finger' (aj 8.1.98). It has now submitted plans for a £40 million, 22,500m2 extension, incorporating 265 bedrooms, a large convention hall and what it claims will be the largest glass hotel atrium in the uk, retaining a parallelogram shape.

Academic proposes largest-ever land art sculpture

Leading academic Kevin Rowbotham is working on what he claims will be the largest land-art sculpture in the world, the 'green triangle project', which will be visible from the moon.

As he describes it, 'Horizontal City; the Chicago Inner Triangle' attempts to transform the late nineteenth-century urban intentions of the Vienna Ring and Burnham Plan in line with the requirements of a modern metropolis. It will look at landscaping both the John Kennedy expressway connection with O'Hare airport and the Dwight Eisenhower/Congress Parkway as two arterial routes connecting the suburbs with downtown. 'Inhabited multi- functional, mixed-density bands utilising redundant and unusable space left over by the highways and in the depopulated zones adjacent to the highways' will form part of two green corridors striking into the heart of Chicago and terminating at Grant Park.

These corridors will form a triangular connection with an area of the forest preserve flanking the Des Plaines valley, creating an inner green triangle, the arms of which will form a continuous 14ha-long park. With its inner green ring of low- to medium-density structures within a continuous leisure park, it will provide mixed amenities linking a series of neighbourhood- specific public spaces.

The Chicago triangle, said Rowbotham, will be, 'an ecological preserve and an active lung for the growing city'. It will also 'provide a virtual monument for the modern Chicago, a horizontal counterpoint to the world's most vertical city core'.

The project is intended to stimulate debate about Chicago's future. It will focus on urban landscape issues concerning civic open space, leisure parks, institutional amenity use, low impact/ecological commercial use, integrated housing and associated communications and infrastructure. An exhibition and a publication are also planned as a chance for uic to initiate this debate and establish a platform for similar work on the issue. International figures will be invited to take part, including Zaha Hadid, Lebbeus Woods (Vico/Sci Arch), Diane Lewis (Technical University Berlin, Cooper Union), Greg Lynn (ucla) and Stanley Allen (Colombia).

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