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RHWL sets sail with P&O tower?

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RHWL hopes its plans for a £250 million office block shaped like a sail will cruise through the planning process.

The architect has submitted a detailed application to Lambeth council for a 33-storey sweep of glass and steel to house offices for shipowners P&O. The skyscraper will be sited next to Waterloo Station and the much-maligned Shell Centre of 1963.

RHWL partner Geoff Mann said: 'The sail curves and twists and rises from a podium of six storeys that is made with cast-aluminium sheets. The sculptural form of the building will make it totally unpredictable as the light catches the facets at different angles and times of the day.'

A major part of the project will sweep away a maelstrom of road and pedestrian traffic outside the station.Adjacent York Road will be realigned to follow the line of the terminal's snaking plan form. A new entrance to the train platforms will sit beside the tower, making the office a much-needed signpost for the station, said Mann.

'We are proud of it and think it will be a wonderful addition to the London skyline, ' said Mann, who created the 120,000m 2design with artist Christopher Le Brun. 'The tower will give the area a centre of gravity and help shift emphasis from the West End to the South Bank.'

Mann said Waterloo had lost 5,000 jobs through downsizing at places like County Hall and Shell, and the office was just what the area needed. The planning application is likely to be considered this autumn before workmen start on site next summer for two years of building.

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