A plan to build this whorling 25-storey tower at the Shoreditch end of Bethnal Green Road has drawn ire from local residents, with Open Shoreditch member Jago Action Group collecting over 1,000 letters in objection to the scheme, reports Building Design magazine.
Amanda Levete, formerly a partner at Future Systems (the firm that built the Lords Media Cente among other things), has designed the residential tower for a site on the Huntington Estate, a light industrial area opposite Shoreditch High Street station. The location bumps up against Redchurch Street, the local epicentre of trendiness (Time Out think it the best shopping street in London): the perfect place for a developer to drop in high-end apartments for the monied types who are increasingly moving to the area.
Objections to the project centre on the deleterious effects on the streetscape, and local residents have been urged to “ditch the block“. High on the list of opponents is Rachel Whiteread, who may have more reason than most to object: in the main picture above, her house is the yellow-brick building with trees on the roof, beside tower’s eastern flank.
For all their modern cool cat tendencies, Shoreditch residents tend to be less than enamoured by the efforts by avant garde architects to remodel the streets of E2. Can’t blame them, really, judging by the poor quality of some proposals. Levete’s design is one of many to fall foul of local taste. The battle over The Foundry, and the Art’Otel that is destined to replace it, ended with the victory for the developer. Other projects have been halted by people power: plans to demolish the Light Bar, and replace it with a Norman Foster-designed skyscraper, were altered in 2009 to save the former electricity substation.
Residents may celebrate these small wins, but developers have already found a way round local objections: in the forthcoming Boxpark, for example, luxury brands will be able to “sample” the area without actually having to move in for good and hence avoid the risk of establishing a real location.
Should Levete’s tower be stymied, there’s still other projects for her firm to complete: they’re working on a new headquarters for News International, and recently won the competition to design a new wing for the V&A.