A Look At KPF Victoria Tower Plans

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A Look At KPF Victoria Tower Plans

Post by Mr007 on Thu Dec 02, 2010 4:09 pm

A Look At KPF Victoria Tower Plans

Having been floating around in the press now for weeks Land Securities have finally released enough information on their plans for the Victoria Transport Interchange for Skyscrapernews to have a better look at it.

The project offers a total of 146,760 square metres of office space, 36,233 square meters of retail space, 77,324 square metres of residential space and 6,596 square metres of leisure. All in all this increases the total amount of space by 144,098 square metres to 273,121 marking an increase of density that is almost double the existing.

The landmark buildings of the scheme are numbers 2 and 7, a couple of similarly shaped residential towers designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates with the tallest just over 128 metres tall.

They will have 510 units of residential accommodation in Building 2 and 310 in Building 7 with the majority being small studios and one bed-roomed apartments in Building 2 and Building 7 containing larger two and three bed-roomed ones.

Although both retaining the similar slender curving shapes they will differ in the treatments to the fašade so that Building 7 has an earthy brown fašade contrasting with the more reflective materials of Building 2 that will make it lighter and more sky-like.

Buildings 4 and 5 will be offices and have been planned to stand the eastern side of Buckingham Palace Road by Benson + Forsyth with 21,790 square meters and 32,359 square metres respectively.

Bordering a conservation area and traditional, their heights are restricted by the firm limits that cut through the area that see the tallest point reach 59.1 metres. These however are not uniform with variations along the road that respond to buildings on the neighbouring side with substantial amounts of Portland stone used in the materials.

Also designed by KPF is Building 6, an 84.8 metre tall curving office building that will have 57,643 square metres of mostly offices with ground floor retail.

It was originally a tower similar to the other two but has been cut in half and turned into two co-joined buildings. It retains the curvature of its neighbours but with the two sliced halves intersecting that allow it to step down from its peak like Building 8.

Building 8 has been designed by Wilkinson Eyre and will stand to the northwest of Cardinal Place and is the replacement for the existing Portland House. 78.5 metres tall and with 17 floors above ground, it will contain 39,700 square metres of largely office space.

The scheme has been clearly designed to fit into the existing public realm of Cardinal Place thanks to an elaborate canopy, that connects the pedestrian space firmly into it and extends the route way through Cardinal Place to the north whilst referencing it with the wedge-shape and having a stepped roof that tips a nod to Eland Place.

The main issue of the scheme is the views from in front of Buckingham Palace looking towards Victoria. Currently there is but one building, Portland House, that significantly interrupts the views.

Removing this building, although welcome, then sees the replacement plus its neighbours significantly extend into a fully fledged cluster that spread behind the views of the Victoria Memorial and appear behind what is presently the unmolested roof-line of Buckingham Palace.

Bound to be just as contentious is the effect the development will have on some of London's parkland. The proposals will have a very strong impact on Buckingham Palace Gardens and in particular the lakeside view that the planning application considers adverse.

Buckingham Palace Gardens aren't visited by the public much but it will also be immediately noticeable above the tree-line in St James's Park - something that the planning authorities in London have fought for decade to preserve without towers encroaching.

Although there can be little doubt that Victoria is suitable for towers in purely developmental terms with it already being a major office centre and sitting right on top of a major transport interchange, the question remains as to whether it is a suitable place to build towers.

The issue Westminster Council, and later Ken Livingstone, will both have to grapple with is whether having spent years making sure views are as interrupted by tall buildings as possible, if they are now to be sacrificed in the name of development.

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