Things are a-brewing on the South Bank. The proposed Beetham Tower, AKA 1 Blackfriars Road, AKA The Boomerang, looks like it’s found a major occupant. But a substantial redesign will also be necessary.
The 68 gleaming stories will rival the nearby Shard in elegance and stature, while its bizarre pregnant bulge renders the design both original and iconic. Or at least that was the plan. Now, several elements, including that bulge, have been criticised by local councils and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).
At the same time, an undisclosed hotel operator has suggested a number of changes to the base, and to keep the potential client cushy, the architect will go back to the drawing board.
It will effectively be a new scheme ... you see that overhang arrangement with hotels but for a [largely] residential scheme, you just can't do that. That part of the scheme is being taken away… the architects are being very co-operative.
Says Julie Greer, Southwark design and conservation manager. So, no bulge and a redesign at the base. We can’t help being a little disappointed. The stretched isosceles tower was rather novel and we like radical designs. Still, let’s wait and see what replaces it.
Meanwhile, over in the City, announcements are imminent over the future of the Heron Tower. Building contractors Skanska are the favourites to take on a half-billion pound contract to build the scraper. Construction would then begin in 2007, when the current occupants move out. It’s going to be four stories higher now, as well.
So, finally, a little good news for fans of tall buildings after much anticipation and delay.