The damning design review comes only a week after the £2 billion Land Securities scheme was hauled in front of a Westminster Council planning committee (06.12.07).
While the design watchdog applauded Land Securities’ ‘aspiration to improve the current situation at Victoria,’ it warned: ‘There needs to be a major rethink of the principles of the masterplan, particularly the area in front of Victoria Station and the shape and form of the proposed buildings.
‘The proposed development fails to address key principles that are essential to make well designed places: legibility, to find your way and have a sense of place; the hierarchy of streets and spaces; and the bulk and arrangement of the buildings.
‘Both the quantum of development proposed and its distribution over the site are problematic. The spaces in the scheme feel alien to the grain of Victoria: the area in front of the station appears leftover rather than a place with a character of its own.
Land Securities submitted a planning application in August and hopes to be given approval to knock down a number of buildings on the central London site, to provide 270,000m2 of retail, commercial office and leisure space.
KPF had originally designed two towers of around 160m in height, but these were later reduced to 134m. However, it is believed that Westminster officials still have reservations over the visual impact of the towers.