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Anti-tower stance will create ‘shorter and fatter' buildings, says NLA chief


Opposition to new skyscrapers in London is likely to change the shape – but not the density – of new development, the chairman of independent forum New London Architecture has warned

Peter Murray said that the kind of local protest that prompted the withdrawal of Renzo Piano-designed plans for a 254m-tall  tower in Paddington would have consequences.

Murray said Londoners ’should be careful what they wish for’ as Piano’s revised design was ‘likely to be less tall but wider in order to fund a £60 million public plaza and entrance to the Underground’.

Writing in the Evening Standard, Murray said: ’Will we learn to accept towers as an expression of the changing scale of the city? Of course, we need to make sure they are well designed and elegant additions to the skyline, but shorter and fatter buildings are not the answer.’

Proposals for the so-called Paddington Pole were submitted to Westminster City Council late last year, but provoked numerous objections, including heavy criticism from architects Terry Farrell, Ed Jones and Francis Terry.

Developer Irvine Sellar withdrew the plans last month, saying he had listened to the concerns about ’the height and impact of the tower element of the scheme on the local area’ and was looking to revise the designs.

Murray said London would have to be developed more densely to accommodate a projected population growth of 2.5 million people over the next 25 years, and tall buildings would be part of the solution.

‘In an Ipsos MORI poll commissioned by NLA, the majority of people were not as antagonistic to tall buildings as some commentators might believe,’ he said. 

Murray pointed to NLA research from 2015 that indicated some 260 towers of 20 storeys or more were either already under construction in the capital or in the pipeline.

2015.12.10   Skyline   Parry



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Readers' comments (2)

  • I've yet to see a tower that doesn't cast a big shadow - perhaps Peter Murray should be careful what he wishes for.

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  • We are a funny lot. We want to preserve our countryside at the same time as our cities skylines, something has to give. Nimbyism is still the issue and that will never change. It’s sad to think that those wishing to live and work in our cities are denied access as others fight to protect the status quo. From my view out of my office window in Hong Kong, the skyline is a myriad of beautiful buildings and not so beautiful buildings juxtaposed in no perceptible rhythm or plan but the city works on many levels. I would rather read that the £60m public park and underground entrance were the cause of public consultation in relation to how they will be enjoyed and how they will benefit the local community. London thrives on its diversity and quality of architecture and tall buildings should be a part of this. Written by Richard Dorkin as a personal view.

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