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New Eco Tower Relaunches Elephant and Castle

The Elephant and Castle Regeneration scheme is about to re-launch for the umpteenth time with a new master plan drawn up by Make, a practise of architects who last year defected from Foster & Partners.

Unlike the previous grand attempts that included 200 metre plus towers, this time it might actually go ahead thanks to a more realistic plan, the resolution in past land ownership issues that previously badgered the project, and the simple fact that five years on from the original ideas everyone is simply more ready for it this time around.

The biggest part of the new masterplan however is a 42 floor tall residential tower designed by Hamilton Associates topped by a wind turbine that will have planning permission formally applied for later in 2005. A planning application for a new mid-rise hotel for London Park and designed by world famous architect, Richard Rogers, is also expected to be filed.

The Hamilton Associates 42 storey tower is set to stand on Elephant Road near the main roundabout that cuts through the area. It will reach 147 metres and contain 310 new private apartments plus 98 affordable units and is the second foray by developer Multiplex into the London residential market in recent months. The lozenge shaped structure features a series of complicated layers of differing cladding that are almost art deco in style

The top of the tower indicates that the desires for an "eco-tower", originally designed by Ken Yeang, have lived on in part thanks to the three 20 metre tall wind turbines that the building boasts that grace the lipstick shaped crown and are capable of generating up to 40% of the electricity required by the building. With the Philishave appearance of the top of the building it's been nicknamed it "the Electric Razor".

The developer, Multiplex, are clearly aiming at the young professional market that they feel has been priced out of the more exclusive developments near the centre of London with apartment prices starting at 280,000 - comparable to Pan Peninsula Tower in price, a development that managed to sell half its apartments in a mere two days.

One of the of the other blocks featured in the overall master-plan, South Central East, a 12 floor tall wedge shaped residential tower designed by Piers Gough of CZWG Architects has already begun marketed by DZG Residential indicating that this time the scheme is more than hot air.

Three other blocks have also been proposed, the tallest coming in at 76m in height and 23 floors above ground designed by Paskin Kyriakides Sands who have also worked on two other shorter towers of 61 and 50 metres.

There is already a blot on the horizon though with Westminster Council concerned that the project will impose itself on future sightlines from St James's Park, the same issue that is now badgering both the proposed Coin Street and Beetham Towers on the South Bank and looks increasingly like being the test case to see whether one borough can use the guidelines to stop development in another borough.

The threat for Southwark is that Westminster has a potential veto on practically every tall project over a certain height should the London Mayor's office agree with them. Given the current attitudes of incumbent Ken Livingstone it seems highly unlikely he would as his previous record has shown him to err strongly on the side of developers.

The concerns for Southwark will be that a future Mayor who replaces Ken will not be as development friendly and will see development in their borough hobbled with conservative objections from their northern neighbours. Of course Ken will be sticking around for a while yet and will certainly back the development in Elephant & Castle, too much political capital and too many housing targets ride on it failing.

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Multiplex Living Tower

Multiplex Living Tower
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South Central East

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Multiplex Living Tower London
Multiplex Living Tower London