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Peabody Trust looks to the skies with high-rise revival

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The Peabody Trust is working on plans to build a 30-storey residential scheme in London, in a move which could spark a revival of high-rise social housing in the capital.

The housing association's design director, Dickon Robinson, said that he is keen to build tall and that he has 'one or two feelers out' in the search for sites for the tower.

Architect Cartwright Pickard is working on design options for the trust, which include a 30-storey tower built using steel-frame modular construction, as employed on its award-winning Murray Grove scheme for the same client.

Separately, Robinson has held discussions with Marks Barfield Architects to advise it on potential sites for its 72-storey 'skyhouse' residential project (AJ 20.7.00), which is also due to include social housing.

The tallest scheme currently on the drawing board for the London housing trust is a 17-storey block as part of the CZWG-designed urban village at Kensal Green, Robinson said. But the trust is now ready to build even taller.

'We are happy to consider tower blocks for the right client groups, such as older tenants and key workers such as nurses and police, ' Robinson said. 'We don't have a happy tradition of tower block design in this country compared with North America and a lot of our blocks have been extremely austere. Part of this process is to reinvent tower accommodation to meet everyday aspirations and to reinvent the architectural language we use.'

The trust's determination to build tall follows a spate of planning applications for high-rise office blocks in the capital this summer.Plans for the world's tallest building, the 460m City Ecotower at Aldgate, are due to be submitted to the City of London planners in the next six months (AJ 17/24.8.00).

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