A tower-led scheme by Robin Partington Architects has had a planning application filed for it in the City of Westminster, London, to kick-start the 2006 Merchant Square scheme.
Four of the approved buildings, the Wave, Topaz, the Blade, and Azure will not now being going ahead, and instead four new buildings have been planned, the tallest of which is a tower that will replace the Blade and reach 149.65 metres to its tip making it shorter than the previous offering, not taller.
Perhaps reflecting the current downturn in demand for office space in the capital, the new buildings will have a reduction of office space from the previous set of 23,030 square metres to 20,526 square metres, whilst the residential component has been scaled up from 36,603 square metre to 59,141 square metres.
Much of the new masterplan is arranged around the existence of this tower. The building is sited to act as a strong landmark to the passing traffic along the A40 whilst 2,3 and 6 Merchant Square have all been panned to create a biconcave public area to the south of it that connects to a circular public performance area.
By setting the Garden Square and tower on a north-south axis, this helps maximise the penetration of the natural light from the south into the towers residential units and give it the maximum amount of daylight despite the surrounding buildings hugging the boundaries closely.
The star of the show is a new tower, 1 Merchant Square. Dubbed the Lava Lamp thanks to its curved profile and circular floorplates, it will compromise of a double height lobby, 90 hotel rooms arranged in a radial manner around the central core on floors one to nine, with 222 flats on the upper levels, and the top floor containing a wrap-around publicly accessible skybar offering 360 degree views of London.
The tower itself is a complete opposite to the shape of the public area - biconvex rather than biconcave shape. With a strong vertical expression that emphasises this shape thanks to the fins that run up the perimeter of the building giving a light contrast to the layered darker cladding behind it.
The project is being developed by European Land and Property, a vehicle jointly owned by Pearcroft and Aldersgate.
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