A solitary tower on the Southbank could be replaced by a cluster of wide office blocks if plans by Make Architects are approved.

(c) Make Architects

Towering over the brutalist IBM building and itself an isolated cluster from the rest of the taller buildings, the new complex of offices as proposed would being an out-of-scale bubble of glass and steel sitting between concrete on one side and parkland on the other.

Roughly the same area via Google Street View

Normally, when a cluster of large buildings are proposed, they’re expected to sit next to and scale down from an existing cluster of buildings — such as the City of London’s plan or on the Southbank, next to Waterloo or Blackfriars.

The proposals centre around a 26-storey office building that is connected to two buildings of 13 and 6 storeys. Alongside office space and workspaces, the scheme will create new cafes and restaurants, cultural venues and green spaces. Although the proposals will open up more of the riverfront to pedestrians, it also dominates the river frontage and only reduces down to smaller buildings as it moves back from the riverfront — backwards to most thinking for such locations.

(c) Make Architects

In a cluster of existing towers, the new plans might stand out in a positive manner, appearing more like a stack of sideways buildings, but in the isolated site on the Southbank, the design stands out like a proverbial sore thumb.

ITV sold 72 Upper Ground to Mitsubishi Estate in November 2019 with an existing planning permission to redevelop the site. There was a previously approved scheme to demolish the 1974 tower and replace it will two more conventional towers.

There is a public consultation on the new plans here.

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9 comments
  1. ChrisMitch says:

    I agree, it does look a bit out of scale.

    Do we need any more office space in central London at present? Presumably time will tell.

    • ChrisC says:

      Given the time taken for these developments to come into fruition and the expected lifetime of the project the disruption due to covid will be a mere blip.

      We need to stop thinking in the short term.

  2. Melvyn says:

    I went to the former LWT building for an episode of BBC Question Time when David Dimbleby was the host !

  3. Michael Churchill says:

    Sorry to be the pedant pointing out typos, but you’ve got ITV in the headline, but IBM in the text.

    • Joe says:

      This is correct, the building will replace the tall tower which is ITV but will be next door to IBM, which is the small concrete tower to the right.

    • ianVisits says:

      The former ITV site next to the IBM building – is correct.

  4. Adam says:

    Its not Makes finest hour, it would be preferable to have a taller building here of the highest architectural quality allowing the ground floor space to be opened up to the public.

  5. Alex Mckenna says:

    I hope they don’t destroy Gabriel’s Wharf…

  6. Alistair James Twiname says:

    god, when will people stop hiring Make

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