London must pay special attention to the quality and location of its new tall buildings because they will last for hundreds of years, a leading structural engineer has warned
WSP director Bill Price, who has spent most of the past decade working on the Shard and whose firm worked on the 544m–high One World Trade Center in New York, also said that the city’s leaders should apply increasing scrutiny to buildings as their height increases.
‘For towers of above 150m in the UK, there is very little precedent for demolition and if you increase that to 200m, virtually no buildings have been demolished,’ he said. ‘A normal building might last for 60 years, but towers have to be extremely robust to stand up, and those above 40 storeys could easily last 100 to 200 years.
‘These buildings are very expensive to remove, and in the meantime have a very big impact on the city. Therefore, they deserve special consideration. For every 50m you add, more and more scrutiny should be applied.’
Price attended a conference on tall buildings held at New London Architecture last week, during which a number of speakers expressed concern about the impact of more than 200 towers in the pipeline for London.
But Colin Wilson, strategic planning manager at the Greater London Authority, strongly denied that the new towers in London were not being carefully considered and publicly discussed under the existing planning system.