The Quill's approval marks next phase of London Bridge development

The Quill, a planned 31-storey building adjacent to London Bridge, has been given planning approval by Southwark Council.


The decision means that, with More London already well-established as a business hub and the construction of the Shard at an advanced stage, the next phase of development at London Bridge is beginning to take shape.

The growth of London Bridge as a southern companion to the City is one of the main drivers of Brockley's long-term development. While the Quill will be built to provide new accommodation for Kings College London's international students rather than house office workers, it will bring more life to the forlorn southern side of the station and its approval in-spite of strong criticism from CABE clears the way for a much bigger project on the south side of the station - Three Spires.

Three Spires is another development from Sellar Group, which also led the development of the Shard. It is reportedly going through a redesign process, which could see significant height reductions (the tallest of the three towers was mooted to be 250m).

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The growth of London Bridge as a southern companion to the City is one of the main drivers of Brockley's long-term development."

I'm not totally following the logic here. What do unsightly garish towers that make Southwark Cathedral look like a doll's house have to do with Brockley's long-term development? Surely we can have one without the other?

Anonymous said...

"The growth of London Bridge as a southern companion to the City is one of the main drivers of Brockley's long-term development."

I'm not totally following the logic here. What do unsightly garish towers that make Southwark Cathedral look like a doll's house have to do with Brockley's long-term development? Surely we can have one without the other?

Brockley Nick said...

Sure, not this building particularly (and I agree with you about this design) but London Bridge in general is a key transport hub and the reason why a lot of people have moved to the area. Its ongoing development is therefore of interest.

The Shard (and its smaller companion also under construction) and Three Spires are therefore of huge importance. Generally, the ongoing development of London Bridge is part of the gradual process of shifting London's centre of gravity a little further south and east, which is all to the good, imo.

Lou Baker said...

@Nick - you're right.

London Bridge is fast becoming a major employment hub.

It's just a shame we've lost a third of our trains there - so it's harder for Brockley residents to get there.

But look on the bright side - we're sorted when Penge becomes the capital's main growth area.

Brockley Jon said...

That photo mockup is quite nice, as they go, but it's a shame we can still see Guy's Hospital rearing its ugly concrete head in the background. Any plans to lose that one? Or give it a clean, at least!

Anonymous said...

Lou, We have excellent links to LB and I'm delighted to see that whole area developing apace. Completely agree with Nick on this one.

Anonymous said...

Does your employer Nick, have a PR interest in this development?

Brockley Nick said...

no. I always declare any interest.

Brockley Nick said...

@BJ - yes, there is:
http://bit.ly/dG7WZJ

Tamsin said...

I don't think CABE are knee-jerk nimbies and, as a respectable and informed body, should at least be listened to. I read somewhere that those who live and work in the area affected are very concerned about what is being steam-rollered through on the coat-tails of the Shard.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin to my knowledge, there is a local group opposed to the three spires plan, which is why it's being redesigned - let's hope their opposition doesn't result in something much worse being proposed.

Anonymous said...

Should we be worried by the deep excuvation taking place immediately infront of the station, it seems to go under the station forecourt.

In a recent TV programme the owner of the Shard said it refelected the character of London, that didn't ring true to me.

Also is the shard based on the small triangles on top of the railway building next to the railway line on the way to Waterloo East?

In passing over in Hammersmith there is a campaign opposed to the regen plans for the town centre, the skyline of which looks similar to the propsals to Lewisham.

What's interesting is the protestors living in quite expensive properties at least a mile away and won't see be able to see the new town centre from where they live.

Welcome to 2010 said...

"Should we be worried by the deep excuvation taking place immediately infront of the station, it seems to go under the station forecourt."

no.

"Also is the shard based on the small triangles on top of the railway building next to the railway line on the way to Waterloo East?"

What, you mean because they are both a bit pointy? no.

Monkeyboy said...

"Should we be worried by the deep excuvation taking place immediately infront of the station, it seems to go under the station forecourt."

reiterate the no.. Ground monitoring is done as a mater of course. LU and Network Rail have Asset Protection engineers that look at that. If you look round Lu (both the LU station and NR) you'll see various 'targets', black disks with an orange mirror, bolted to various fixed points like walls and sleepers. There are automatic scanning thingys (mounted at high level, green laser devices, about the size of a large shoe box) that take measurements periodically, linked to a system that triggers a warning if untoward movement occurs.

London Bridge is NOT falling down, or at least if it does we'll know in advance.

D said...

The Shard does reflect the character of London in that they're both lazy and lacking imagination. Brunel, Bazalgette et al. will be turning in their graves to see us throwing up a bunch of copycat glass towers in the same way as everyone else in the world.

Brockley Nick said...

@D - Brunel was unique in his use of brick arches and suspension cables was he?

Brockley Kiwi said...

I have to say I was a bit ambivalent to the whole structure until last week when on a miserable grey London afternoon a break in the clouds let the sun's rays reach the glazed section. The result was magical as the whole structure and surrounding low cloud was bathed in soft, warm hues that seemed to be constantly moving and changing colour.

If we occasionally get repeat performances it will definitely be a memorable addition to the London skyline.

D said...

Maybe not unique but he and his peers were special in their ability to push the boundaries and find solutions to problems that people never dreamed were possible. You can say many things about them but they'd certainly never have dreamed of building something just because they've already got one in Dubai!

The difference is that they were leaders, not followers.

Mb said...

I don't understand... are you complaining because the buildings should be clad in portland stone and have gargoyles, a la Prince charles, or are not radical enough?

London is not a museum. The Romans, Wren and the victorians all changed the city to reflect their time. Wren was not shy about picking up influences from those dasterdly foreigners. In fact I think he wanted to change london radically after the great fire.

New isn't always bad.

Brockley Nick said...

Well I agree that what makes that era special was the ambition, but I'd say that this is a structure with similar ambition. There isn't a structure like this in Dubai (unless you mean tall and covered in glass) and it will be the EU's tallest building, beautifully realised with the highest-quality materials. There are a number of innovations in the building's design and engineering.

This Is England said...

..."there isn't a structure like this in Dubai..." etc. Oh, that's all right then, phew I was worried there for a moment.

D said...

Mb - no my point is exactly the opposite. It seems to me that what we're coming up with now isn't 'new' enough (as much as i love a bit of stone and gargoyles).

We're just doing the same as everyone else, which I think is a bit of a shame. It just feels like we've agreed to join a global competition to build tall glass buildings, instead of forging ahead and leading our own competition.

Quite simply the Shard is what I'd have come up with if someone asked me to design a new building, and I have zero imagination or experience in architecture - I'd expect our experts to push the boundaries a bit more!

L B user said...

Southern sent a 4 carriage train to London Bridge at 8.17 today, about 2 or 3 people on the platform at Brockley got on. The ELL is ok, but when I want to get into LB i want a direct, fast route. This was one of the reasons I moved and enjoy living in Brockley. I hope that ELL is often very full, at PEAK, and thats a good thing, but it is vital for me, that the LB service is not down graded.

Tamsin said...

"London Bridge is NOT falling down, or at least if it does we'll know in advance."
Love it!

I have also surprised myself by quite liking the Shard itself. It fits in well in the skyline as seen from the hill.

Just slightly worried by the other implications for over-rapid development. Usually when objectors make the designers go back to the drawing board or if there is an enforced delay what comes out of the process is an improvement. A much, much smaller scale but this is what happened with the Reservoir proposals in Jerningham Road.

Brockley Nick said...

@This is England - D said that it was a 'me too' building. I'm just pointing out that it isn't.

In terms of form, it's unique (Renzo Piano at the top of his game) but there are lots of other ways in which buildings can push boundaries - from energy efficiency to construction engineering, from internal layout to function. Buildings are massively complex projects that often push boundaries in ways you can't see just by looking at the height and type of building materials.

This Is England said...

'just by looking' is what we all have to do when these things are thrown up creating concrete and glass canyons for us mere mortals to scurry around in. Hooray for the new, not.

Danja said...

Does it make you feel short or something?

This Is England said...

Ha ha. No it makes me feel sad for all the lost opportunities. Another office block. Whoopee.

Danja said...

Oh well, console yourself with the thought that another tall office block came down to make way for this one. In fact two did, and LBH was a bit of a neglected gem (unlike its replacement to be).

Brockley Nick said...

@This is England. The Shard is not an office building, it's mixed use, including a public viewing gallery at the top, a Shangri-La Hotel, apartments and office space.

The Quill isn't an office building either.

Anonymous said...

Nick, the company you work for does undertake PR for property developers doesn't it?

If one of the employees of the company you work for (such as you) were to be shown as being publicly critical of such a development as The Shard would that have an adverse effect on your employment?

Brockley Nick said...

Yes it does. No it wouldn't. But thanks for your concern ;)

When there are topics I don't feel comfortable talking about due to work conflicts, I don't cover them.

I happen to think the Shard is fab, that is all. But moreover, I hate it when people say things like "it's all office blocks" when the facts are just the opposite.

This Is England said...

But they look like office blocks. That's the point.

Tamsin said...

Is London Bridge House the one right on the bridge with the cut-away corner and mirror cladding?

If so I can't say I'm sorry to see it go. A design that tries to be interesting and different but to my mind does not quite work.

Brockley Nick said...

a) What does an office block look like? There aren't (m)any that look like the Shard.

b) that isn't the point. The point is at least as much about what they do as what they look like. There is a huge difference between a tower like 1 Canada Square, which you can only access if you work there, and a tower you can climb and look out over London, have a drink or a meal in the restaurant or a party at the hotel.

And a place where students live will have a very different impact on its surroundings than a place where office workers commute to.

Brockley Jon said...

@Tamsin, I actually quite like that one! Guess I've been past it so many times I've become fond of it.

But no, as far as I know London Bridge House was the one that was effectively in the roundabout next to the L.B. bus station, where the Shard is now.

@This is England, The Shard does look like an office building, if you count all skyscrapers as office buildings, but at least it doesn't look like this office building!

Danja said...

I meant New London Bridge House - a classic bit of sadly neglected Seifert modernism. http://www.skyscrapernews.org/images/pics/246NewLondonBridgeHouse_pic3.jpg

Brockley Jon said...

It reminds me of the Alpha Tower in Birmingham. Started to look a bit rough towards the end though didn't it? I guess its fate was sealed by then.

Danja said...

Very sad and tatty, yes. The mosaic tiling was so filthy everyone thought it was concrete. And the horrible 80s plastic clad low rise stuff they had wrapped around the side and back of it was hideous.

This Is England said...

Wow Nick you make it sound like Shangri-La: A viewing platform! A hotel! Students! A restaurant! (offices)...all thanks to John Prescott. How about we call this oasis of trendiness "the London Bridge Quarter". Can't wait.

X said...

When there's so much bad, boring and lazy architecture going on in London, it's annoying that someone should lump the shard in with this. It doesn't look like much yet but I think it's going to be beautiful. And yes, in response to the original post, all these developments are definitely going to have an impact on brockley over the next few years. Hopefully a very positive one.

This Is England said...

I don't have too much of a problem with the Shard, but I fail to see anything to be over enthusiastic about. My main concern is that it becomes the focus for more of the same. This is London not Dubai, Hong Kong or Shanghai. I suspect its supporters would rather like to live and work in those other places.

Brockley Nick said...

@This is England – you’ve moved the goalposts so many times that it’s hard to have a coherent debate –

First you didn’t like it because it was too much like a Dubai building. Then when it turned out that it wasn’t, you said it was a lost opportunity just to have more offices. Then when it turned out that it wasn’t just an office, you said that didn’t matter either, the problem is that it looks like an office block. That highly dubious argument was knocked on the head and you said you didn’t mind the Shard so much, as what it might bring in its wake and that people who like it must secretly want to move to Dubai.

Well I like it and I have had the opportunity to move to Dubai and I don’t want to thanks, I like London – and I think this will make London better, just like the Gherkin and the London Eye have.

To your latest point, yes London Bridge will eventually see more tall buildings. It is one of the few sites in London designated suitable for tall buildings. As Danja has pointed out, the new buildings being built replace older (much worse) tall buildings (I agree with Danja about LBH except that I think the base was an unforgiveable travesty). So more tall buildings are coming, but not because of the Shard, and probably not that many.

It would be a lot simpler if you just said:

“I am one of those people who has an irrational, amorphous dislike of tall buildings. It’s the result of some of the rubbish tall buildings that the UK has built in the past, mild xenophobia, because somehow I think tall buildings are not very British and anyway basically aren’t they all just penis-substitutes for megalomaniac developers? So whatever you say about efficient land use, density leading to more exciting city centres, energy efficiency or the visual interest of a varied skyline, I’m sorry, I just don’t like them and I never will.”

Then we could just leave it at that.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit unfair to claim that This Is Englands 'dislikes' are any more irrational than your own 'likes'.

You've both made up your minds based on your own criteria which seems fair enough to me.

If either one of you were right then there'd be no place for debate would there?

Brockley Nick said...

Only if you're in the "there are no right answers, all opinions are equally valid" school of thought.

I'm not. There is objective truth. And it's on my side ;)

But yes, there are valid reasons to oppose any scheme - let's debate them. My point is that ThisisEngland has given one false argument after another in support of his cause, finally resorting to suggesting I am a secret Dubai wannabe.

Tressilliana said...

I'm wondering where my supposedly cash-strapped employer is getting the money for this building, not to mention re-developing Somerset House.

Brockley Nick said...

Isn't it an investment in the lucrative overseas student market?

This Is England said...

You mentioned Dubai first, you said there isn't a structure like this in Dubai. I wouldn't know about the structure, but there's a few lookalikes.

Brockley Nick said...

Ah, apologies, it was D who mentioned Dubai first. Note how I am happy to acknowledge when I get my facts wrong ;)

Anonymous said...

I think it's nice that someone can carry their enthusiasm for tall shiny buildings into adulthood.

Irony alert said...

Such a childish comment, anon.

This Is England said...

Sorry I'm entirely subjective about these things. I won't be working in the London Bridge Quarter, and I'll probably stop visiting the area once it starts to resemble any other modern high density development. The trick is to stay one jump ahead of the developing juggernaut. Weren't we all supposed to be working from home by now? Who needs these huge buildings?

Anonymous said...

Lay off This Is England. A building of this size distracts attention from the other monstrosity next to it, but nonetheless it's a damned shame that 'development' must include giant glass and steel structures, an increasingly archaic architectural form. This sort of high-density structure and the developments to come, no matter how happy hippy its occupants will be, is seriously out of place next to Southwark Cathedral. It's sad that London Bridge is zoned for this sort of thing. One of the things I like most about London as a city is the sensitive zoning that concentrates the glass and steel towers, interesting and innovative as they can without a doubt be (and sorry, Nick, I disagree that the Shard fits either description) to specific districts which lends sense to their context, and actually makes it easier to appreciate their designs. Canary Wharf, etc. This isn't London Bridge, sorry. And the Shard isn't the OXO Tower or the Gherkin. It's seriously uninspiring as an architectural form. A shard of glass, give me a break. What is this, 1980?

Brockley Nick said...

"A shard of glass, give me a break. What is this, 1980?"

I'm not sure why you think glass is an antiquated material, it isn't especially the stuff cladding the Shard.

We can argue the toss about form (although you're obviously wrong) but the exciting thing (and the point of this article) is the function of these buildings, which
are over time helping to drag the dynamism of the City south and create real critical mass around London Bridge, which has been desolate on the southern side of the station.

Brockley Nick said...

Also:

"One of the things I like most about London as a city is the sensitive zoning that concentrates the glass and steel towers... to specific districts which lends sense to their context"

But this IS one of those zones and you're bemoaning that fact. Contradictory.

Anonymous said...

I'm bemoaning the fact that London Bridge is zoned this way. I wish that it wasn't, not pretending that it isn't. Why is that a contradiction?

Glass isn't antiquated. Designing a building that takes its form from a shard of glass is stale pomo through and through.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, there is obviously lots of dynamism around London Bridge Station, whether or not we include the 'blighted' southern side that you're so concerned about. I just don't agree that more towers are a necessity for regenerating one of the most desirable areas in town. I'd personally be very excited to see somewhere like Croydon be developed in this way where it really would make a beneficial impact.

Danja said...

I agree with Danja about LBH except that I think the base was an unforgiveable travesty).

I think we agree full stop, as I said:

And the horrible 80s plastic clad low rise stuff they had wrapped around the side and back of it was hideous.

Brockley Central Label Cloud