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RSHP Plan Changes For Riverside South

A key planning application has been filed in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets relating to the under construction Riverside South complex that will contain two of Britain's tallest skyscrapers.

The first application refers to a number of minor changes that will need to be made to Riverside South to make it single occupier, the implications being that the JP Morgan deal is now in the bag and the developer, Canary Wharf, is seeing the scheme revised to meet the individual needs of their new tenant.

The changes made by the architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, include reducing the height of the middle section of Riverside South by approximately 9 metres due to the changing internal space requirements for offices. Paradoxically the building will grow in size by 8,500 square metres thanks to the addition of a mezzanine level and increased space for plant equipment.

Buildings 3 and 2 will have the proposed link between them removed and instead be joined more intimately allowing them to work as one, much as Citigroup has utilised at 5 Canada Square.

Planned retail on the north-west section of the proposals will be removed making the scheme almost exclusively office space. This will be considered an unfortunate move by some thanks to the riverside location that would have made it an attractive venue, particularly in the summer months.

Subtle changes have also been made to the actual architectural design honing it to make it more graceful and less blocky. The changes are more noticeable when compared to earlier designs from 2005 that saw the scheme appearing chunky and lacked the recessed corners that the new plans have.

Of particular note in the latest revision is the changes to Riverside South 2 which has it's east and west elements suspended by a recessed structural frame in a similar nature to Reuters building in Blackwall. The end result here differs with the idea being to create a building that is glazed to be as transparent as possible rather than fashionably black like it's predecessor.

Gone is the zigzagging crossbracing of the 2007 designs. For leading proponents of structural expressionism there is little of that on show here with the architects having gone as far as concealing the internal steel hangers to make the exterior as unencumbered as possible.

Although not one of the latest changes, the crowning architectural feature of the design remains the use of a three metre cantilever on the east and west facades of the tower that allows it to project outwards.

Combined with the deeply recessed ground floors, RSHP has taken one of the key ideas of International architecture and attempted to create floating glass boxes.

Depth is further added to Riverside South particularly on the north and south faces of the tower with metal spandrels creating a grid-work of steel with the glazing recessed behind them.

Riverside South may not be as exciting as the Leadenhall Building, 88 Wood Street or Lloyds of London but regardless of this it is shaping up to be a piece of high quality corporate architecture that should sit in Canary Wharf head and shoulders above what stands on Heron Quays.

Construction of the raft for the basement that the scheme will sit on is due to begin on site in 2009 during the second quarter.
Riverside South
Riverside South