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Review of 2001: the year of the tower

The moment that caused a reassessment of the tower in terms of safety, structure, suitability - New York's World Trade Center was hit by terrorist attacks on a date now ingrained on the memory, September 11. The catastrophic event ultimately destroyed 1.4 million m2 of space.

Just days before the US terrorist attacks, Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners unveiled its own proposals to build a new skyscraper in the City of London. The £300 million project for Minerva over 36 storeys would join Foster and Partners'Swiss Re in the background - now being built.

Renzo Piano aimed even higher with his proposal, designed with Broadway Malyan. The £350 million London Bridge Tower (above), or 'shard of glass', will be Europe's tallest tower - if it is built - at 306m high.

But London's skyline will perhaps be most altered when the result of the inquiry into the Heron Tower (middle) is announced next year. The KPFdesigned 222m scheme was opposed by English Heritage, while the AJ revealed another City tower by Hemut Jahn is waiting in the wings.

Barfield Marks'50-storey Skyhouse scheme (right) is also ready to roll.

The year 2001 marked a significant step in the skyscraper as a building form and, in particular, in the UK's approach to such buildings.Did we want them? Did we need them? Could we build them? In a sense, the answer to all three will come from the Heron Tower inquiry, whose inspector will pronounce next year. But the number of proposals for 50-storey plus buildings rocketed upwards, despite the Manhattan tragedy. Mayor Ken Livingstone even said he wants 20 new towers for London.

Another public inquiry - that into the Richard Rogers Partnership's Heathrow Terminal 5 at last reached a verdict, and the huge, controversial scheme was given the all-clear, again with European competition cited as a reason for need. Rogers was less fortunate, however, in Wales, and more particularly Cardiff, which has had a poor history in dealing with architects from outside the principality and building projects.This scheme was the Welsh Assembly, which RRP was publicly sacked from after a series of accusations about escalating costs.

And the story of escalating costs was a familiar one for a number of other government schemes.The Dome's afterlife, of course, was still not settled nearly a year on from closing, at great expense.Scotland dealt with more claims about overruns regarding its parliament scheme, and Wembley became something of a fiasco over money, the £120 million Lottery bid, late rival schemes from Birmingham and Coventry, a report from troubleshooter Patrick Carter, and what is likely to be a cheaper Wembley chosen after all.Picketts Lock fared no better.FaulknerBrowns won the competition for the athletics stadium, but transport connections were thought a problem and it was Carter again who signalled that it had to be pulled. We were losing the game.

Controversy, too, surrounded Foster and Partners with its Spitalfields scheme, the latest version of which is on page 8, and which has been opposed by a voluble community action group.A similar story with the South Bank project, masterplanned by Rick Mather, which has shown little progress.

Prince Charles became outspoken on architectural matters again, and will be helping the design of new hospitals, most of which are built through PFI, another ongoing concern.

Will Alsop took over from Lord Rogers at the Architecture Foundation, which celebrated its 10th anniversary, and Paul Hyett replaced Marco Goldschmied as president of the RIBA.

The institute marked the year by giving its Gold Medal to Jean Nouvel, who picked up the Praemium Imperiale, too - and £90,000.

Court cases were also in vogue. Rem Koolhaas fought and won one about him not actually copying someone else's work, Jonathan Ball fought - and is still fighting - about intellectual rights over Grimshaw's Eden Project. And then there were towers. Here's to 2002. Onwards and upwards.

The RIBA got a new logo and a new president Paul Hyett - a slightly less controversial move Wilkinson Eyre's Magna project unexpectedly triumphed over Eden at the Stirling Prize FaulknerBrowns'Picketts Lock was just one of many government gaffes on grands projets Wilkinson Eyre was also in the news for the opening of its Gateshead Millennium Bridge. . .

. . . while Foster and Partners' 'City Hall' building neared completion on London's south bank

REST IN PEACE Losses to architecture in the year include:

Colonel Richard Seifert Eric Bedford Frank Newby Sir Denys Lasdun Roderick Gradidge Andrew Jackson, Edinburgh tutor Tim Bell, Kingston educationalist David Pearce, publisher and conservationist Royston Landau, AA teacher Steven Izenour, author

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