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UK’s second tallest building for Croydon
Published: 2nd October 2017
This Article was Written by: Richard Furlong - City Surveys Group
Croydon Council has approved plans to build what will become the UK’s second tallest building. It is said that the decision was ‘one of the hardest’ ever made by the planning committee, owing to a string of objections and previous refusals.
The development, named One Landsdowne Road, will be made up of two towers of 68- and 41-storeys connected by an 11-storey podium structure. The towers will house 794 flats, a greater proportion of which have already been designated as ‘affordable’.
Guildhouse Rosepride are the developers for the project, working with China Building Technique Company as partners. Critically-acclaimed architect Piers Gough of CZWG is responsible for the design of One Landsdowne Road.
Guildhouse Rosepride hope that work will begin on demolishing the existing buildings onsite by summer 2018, with a tentative build time of just under five years.
One Lansdowne Road will scrape the sky at a dizzying 236 metres, coming in taller than any building in London’s Canary Wharf and topping even the Great Pyramid of Giza! It will supersede the 43-storey Saffron Square building, currently the tallest in Croydon; only the London Shard will be taller – at 95 floors and 310 metres.
Landsdowne will be built opposite the brand new, £1.4billion Westfield Shopping Centre, but will incorporate its own 35,000㎡ of office space, shops, plus a bar and restaurant, a fitness complex and a spectacular public viewing gallery.
Approval comes after a previous proposal was refused in 2016, when the plans consisted of a 69-storey development that included 917 flats and 22,305m² of office space.
Despite appeals, this particular proposal never came to fruition. Design Council CABE supported the ‘principle of a tall building in this location’ but had deep concerns over the scheme’s ‘elevational treatment’, while Historic England stated that it feared the project would result in ‘harm to the historic significance of the Alms Houses’ (located nearby).
The Mayor of Croydon still needs to give the green light before construction can start. At present, only 21% of the 794 flats are considered ‘affordable’, which may or may not be enough to guarantee the go-ahead.
David Hudson, Chief Executive of Guildhouse Rosepride, said: “The great challenge for Croydon is to change perceptions and this scheme will help it to become a destination in its own right.
This will help to achieve that because, in my opinion, it will be a world-famous building.”
He added: “Piers Gough is one of the great post-war English architects, and it is very rare for a project of this scale to receive more letters of support than letters of objection. You will see it from Piccadilly to Brighton. So for just two people to object to it is pretty remarkable.”
The building has been purposely designed to be set back from the street to allow for widened pavements and outdoor seating to be installed. There will also be a network of alternative walking/cycling links through the development, meeting at a small central piazza.
The appearance of One Landsdowne Road is also a talking point. On the south façade of the building, balconies will be encircled by curved bronze ribbons strung via the central podium. The inspiration for this design came from Matisse cut-outs and abstract relief sculptures.
Cllr Paul Scott told a committee that eight previous reasons for refusing the scheme had been overcome. He said: “This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make on this planning committee. It will be one of the highest restaurants in the country, one of the highest in the world. The free public access is notable and it will bring more people to Croydon.
I must admit, I am not a fan of the design but it is not about an individual’s opinion, it is about an overall quality. It will be striking, dramatic and it will be another thing which puts us on the map.”