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Piano’s £775 million ‘Paddington Cube’ approved

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Renzo Piano has won planning permission for a contentious 14-storey office block in west London, dubbed the ‘Paddington Cube’

The project, for Shard developer Sellar Property Group, was approved by local authority Westminster City Council last night (6 December).

An earlier concept, featuring a 72-storey skyscraper which was quickly nick-named the Paddington Pole, was ditched in January following criticism from architects, Westminster Council, residents and campaigners concerned about its effect on the capital’s skyline.

The £775 million cubic building and new public realm will replace an Edwardian former Royal Mail sorting office next to Paddington Station.

Last month Historic England raised new concerns about the revised design, fearing the redrawn proposal would also have a ‘major harmful impact’ on the Bayswater Conservation Area.

The scheme has won the go-ahead four years after the architect completed the 72-storey Shard skyscraper for the same developer in London Bridge.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop is working on the latest scheme with William Matthews – who worked on The Shard while employed by Piano – and Pringle Richards Sharratt, TP Bennett and BDP.

The 54m x 54m x 54m perfect cube will house 33,445m² of offices, shops and restaurants above 0.5ha of newly created public realm, including a piazza and pedestrian links to public transport.

Commenting on the approval, developer Irvine Sellar told the Evening Standard: ‘The Shard has changed London Bridge completely and the same thing will happen here. It will bring tremendous change. It will be in a different way and a different style to the Shard – I never want to do a repeat. It will be a landmark and we won’t stop at this development.’

The Cube will create the infrastructure we need to build a brighter future for this part of Westminster

Councillor Robert Davis, Westminster City Council deputy leader and cabinet member for the built environment, said: ’Paddington is the front door of our city for many visitors with vital rail connections linking London to the country and the world. The Cube development will create the infrastructure we need to build a brighter future for this part of Westminster.

‘Designed by Renzo Piano, one of the great architects of our time, these plans are a game-changer, breathing fresh life into the area. It is a big, ambitious project that secures a £65 million investment in public space and transport infrastructure and will create around 4,000 new jobs.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Happy now Historic England, nosey architects and local residents? A 72 storey tower would have put Paddington on the map, San Geminiano style. The 54x54x54 cube will just block out the light. Mind you, 54x54 makes a better dealing floor, and loses less heat. Take your pick.

    At least London has gained by embracing Sellars with Piano, and good old BDP for the boring bits? Brunel would like that next to GWR.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    I thought the idea to place giant towers around all London's major rail terminals was a great concept.
    Reducing travelling time for thousands of Londoners iand reduce the load on an archaic underground, by putting lots of jobs around these stations, sounds like a good philosophy.
    Did someone not get the memo, or did they lose their bottle.

    The pole and a group of smaller cousins would have given the upbeat impact in from A40 Westway -Gateway to Lahndan, mate.

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