Height - 163m / 535ft
Use - Residential
Developer - St George PLC and Berkeley Group
Architects - SimpsonHaugh and Partners
Expected Completion - 2018
One Blackfriars, also dubbed as ‘The Boomerang’ taking its name from its distinctive shape, is the latest addition to transform London Southbanks skyline, however it has also been one of the longest running proposals in the pipeline with some hefty downgrades.
Rising 52 storeys into the sky, the SimpsonHaugh sculptured design, famous for his Beetham Tower and Owen Street towers in Manchester, faced many opposition. The original proposal from over 10 years ago was planned to rise 220m, however Nimbys won the battle cropping he height down to 190m and then again down to its current height of 163m, resulting in a stubbier tower. The reason for such opposition was due to the lack of planned talls in London at the time, this was a one-of-a-kind, The City and Canary Wharf were the only two places destined for true skyscrapers until London threw the recession into the Thames and out came the mega boom it is seeing today.
Despite the doom and gloom of the past, One Blackfriars is now rising upwards, its convexed, twin layered facade reflects the British sun, shining light into the streets below, which previously were flanked by dull concrete eyesores achieving nothing for the neighbouring streetscape. The bulging belly boomerang design is reflected in the sites small footprint, as the tower pushes outwards as it rises, more internal space can be constructed for such luxurious apartments. Nimbys again played a large part in this aspect of the design, requiring public space to be utilised, creating a thoroughfare through the site as retail and trees lines the streets and open space, this again resulted in a small footprint for the tower (I guess Nimbys can sometimes have a positive impact on developments, eh?).
Over 10 years from when One Blackfriars was displayed to London, the tower is finally rising, with the core shooting upwards closely followed by the floors and shimmering glass. After much backlash, the structure is still powering through. Despite a stubbier finalised version, the proportions from the north and south side along with its funky silhouette and convexed facade will still make for an icon for The Southbank to be proud of, and unlike The City, this is to be the landmark for the area. No mish-mash of tower designs are to swarm the neighbourhood; sleek and contemporary yet conservative towers are to follow to create a much stronger streetscape, praising iconic designs rather than overwhelming them with a more balanced skyline. It’s just a two year wait until you can sit in the plaza to look up and see this giant beauty leaning over and above you with elegance.
A birds-eye drawing of the site displaying the uses of the separate building sin relation to one another and their surroundings:
A detailed birds-eye view drawing of the site showing the roof gardens to the amenity building, of which also emphasises the impact of the sloping cantilever on the tower has above the plaza:
Render depicting the view from North Bank:
Facing ‘The City’ as the sunlight reflect the convexed
Night time shot zooming in on the facade as the historic landmark, St Pauls Cathedral, comes into view:
A skyline shot from one of the office towers in The City emphasising the impact the tower will have to its local surroundings, acting as a peak to yet another forming cluster:
View of a living area facing ‘The City’ as The Shard dominates the skyline in the distance:
Wide angle shot of a bathroom, the lights sparkle off of the sleek marble forming sharp edges with interesting textures surfaces:
Yet another living space with a more open design for the very upper floors of the tower:
##Public Realm and Plaza
The view of the low rise hotel and amenities building facing north as the tower rises above, shooting outwards as it rises. The curved edges fronting the street compliment the tower, whilst the stone facade contrasts against it, warming the street with a more natural and welcoming texture:
The valet area canopied by tree like structures shaped with the footprint of the tower in mind:
#Construction Photo Update
Photo taken by myself from Blackfriars Bridge