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SOM Invigorate London Crossharbour Proposals

The latest step in the evolution of Ballymore's Crossharbour development in London's docklands has come to light.

Designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, who worked on the previous three submitted planning applications for the same scheme, the latest proposals tear up some of the established design principles they went for before.

The new planning application refers to buildings 1, 8 and 9 in the phase two of the masterplan. In doing so, they are firmly rejecting the strong angular modernist approach that SOM had previously taken, opting instead for something more organic whilst remodeling the base areas around the buildings to improve pedestrian access, and expanding public space all around the tower by rejecting the former fortress-like blocks.

Building 1, the tower known as Baltimore Wharf, has been increased in height from about 131 metres to 149.9 metres making it Ballymore's tallest residential project yet. The height is limited by the London City Airport safe limits which are set at 154.8 metres AOD which the tip of the tower precisely reaches.

It has 45 storeys and will contain 330 apartments. Ground floor retail is included whilst the top two floors will have noticeably extending roof terraces overlapping the levels below giving dinners sheer views all the way down.

The shape of the tower takes on that of an ellipse that curves as it rises as if distorted by the motion from a propeller although its essentially orientated on an east-west axis giving it a slim-line profile from the opposite side of the dock.

It's a clever illusion as the tower itself doesn't actually twist. Instead protruding balconies are employed by the architect that expand and contract around the regularly shaped structure. By rotating the orientation of these as they move up the building the impression is given of the tower torquing.

These balustrades will be all glass, partly to maximise for occupants from the view inside, and also to allow the optimum level of passive solar gain. Set behind cladding the structure of the tower proper will be glass and stainless steel giving it a pristine look.

Next door is Building 8, a mixed use 19 floor structure that will be 68.95 metres tall that will be topped by a roof terrace. Within will be 143 hotel rooms and 195 apartments.

Following a rough U shape, it employs gentle curves giving it the look from the air of a sleeping snake. The idea of the architects is that on its curving facades the glazing will play with the reflections animating them.

Building 9 has been penned to closely fit with the neighbouring Building 7 that is part of Phase 1 of the masterplan. They share a boulevard and the look from the east closely mimics Building 7. It will be sixteen floors and host largely social housing.

The combined end result is a slick scheme that deals with the defects of the previous plans and at the same creates a more attractive landmark than a jazzed up commie-block creating a series of buildings in a landscaped area with excellent access through the site in all directions.

Article Related buildings:

Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 1

Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 1
Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 8

Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 8
Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 9

Crossharbour Phase 2 Building 9
London Crossharbour
London Crossharbour