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Broadway Malyan's 'secret' tower

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Secret plans for a 50-storey multimillion-pound residential tower in south London's Vauxhall are set to be revealed, despite the current uncertainty about skyscrapers, the AJ has discovered.

If built, the tower will be the second largest in the UK, behind Cesar Pelli's 53-floor 1 Canada Square in London's Docklands.

The hush-hush plans have been drawn up by architect Broadway Malyan for client St George, and are proposed for a site next to the other residential project built by the pair and overlooking the Thames - St George Wharf by Vauxhall Bridge.

But unlike the architect's last brush with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment over the £70 million Met Office designs in Exeter, this time the commission is thought to have given the scheme the thumbs-up in early positive meetings with individual officials.

CABE is currently at loggerheads with English Heritage at an ongoing inquiry over KPF's plans to build another skyscraper, the Heron Tower, in the City of London, but even EH is also thought to have signalled its approval of the Broadway Malyan proposal, which is at pre-planning stage.

Representatives of London mayor Ken Livingstone, a fan of the Heron Tower and tall buildings in general, are also understood to have commended the Vauxhall scheme, and Lambeth council is believed to have been positive in meetings.

Client representative Robert Gordon Clark confirmed the bare bones of the story to the AJ, adding that the project will be submitted for planning permission early next month. He said the architect has been hard at work preparing drawings and images showing how London's newest tower will look from a number of angles. The site, to the western edge of St George Wharf, is prominent because it sits at a turn in the river and will be highly visible from four or five Thames bridges.

Clark added that the architect had taken a number of steps to make sure that the tower is as green as possible. 'There will be significant environmental innovations developed as part of the scheme.'

Broadway Malyan's St George Wharf is a mixed-use project with prow shaped forms cascading from glass towers, including a central tower rising to 22 storeys and shops and restaurants along the landscaped riverside walk. As well as the Vauxhall scheme, the practice is working on another, much taller tower, again in south London - with Renzo Piano on the £350 million mixeduse London Bridge Tower or 'shard of glass' in Southwark. That scheme, currently in for planning, is 306m and 66 storeys tall, which would make it Europe's tallest - if it is built.

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