Another pile of 1970's 'brutalism' looks set to tumble. Malbray Ltd. are planning to redevelop the groaning heap of concrete that sits atop the Westminster Bridge roundabout, to create a 913-bedroom, 15-floor hotel. The current six-storey monster was built in the early 1970s as an extension to the Greater London Council offices, but has sat unloved and empty for several years. (Except, of course, for the good guys in Ultraviolet, who used it as a base.) The building is so ugly that, now we’ve been reminded about it, we're going to dust down our copy of The Getaway, get in the tank, and start pummelling it with shells.
Back in the real world, plans for the 4- or 5-star hotel complex are being considered this week by Lambeth's planning committee. This should be a no-brainer, given the location close to a tourist centre, and the fact that planning permission had previously been granted for a similar, now-defunct scheme. Just as long as we don't end up with another London Hilton (or Paris Hilton, for that matter).
We could be seeing more, much more, of this sort of thing over the coming year. In mid-2006, what is said to be the largest demolition project…in the UK…ever, will begin, as the huge brown and silver tower at London Bridge comes down to make way for the 'Shard of Glass'. And then, of course, there's the rejuvenation of Battersea Power Station to look forward to, as well as the massive redevelopment of Stratford Marshes to create the Olympic venue.
Photo taken from this wonderful, magpie-like site.