Thursday, 22 October 2015

Renzo Piano's £1bn Shard of west London to transform 'lifeless' Paddington

West London's tallest skyscraper will be at the heart of dramatic plans for a £1 billion transformation of Paddington by the property tycoon who built The Shard.
Images of a 65-storey “skinny Shard” of apartments, offices, restaurants and a roof garden designed by Renzo Piano — the Italian “starchitect” behind western Europe’s tallest building — were unveiled today ahead of a public exhibition.
New design: an aritst's impression of the 'Skinny' Shard 'Skinny' Shard
Irvine Sellar, chairman of Shard developers Sellar Property Group, said although Paddington was one of London’s most important gateways it had been overlooked for decades.
He said: “At the moment you only go to Paddington for two reasons — to catch a train or to see someone in hospital. It is soulless and has no life and yet it is only five minutes from Hyde Park and seven or eight minutes from Marble Arch.
“It is a fantastic location but it is stuck in a Fifties time-warp. We intend to create a place for people to go, where they will want to live, work, eat and shop.

How the skyscraper would look
“Paddington is connected to Heathrow, the Bakerloo and District and Circle lines and Crossrail is coming, but the immediate vicinity is messy and depressing. We can transform it completely. And this is not just talk — everyone can see that we’ve done it already at London Bridge.”
Mr Sellar said the 224-metre skyscraper was a “very elegant, light and crystal-type tower, very different to the dark and dense towers that are not very good for London”. It will have restaurants on the 60th, 61st and 62nd storeys and a 5,000 sq ft public roof garden inspired by Kew.
If it goes ahead the building will be the equal fourth-highest in the capital, alongside the City’s Cheesegrater and behind only The Shard, One Canada Square at Canary Wharf and Heron Tower. 
It will stand in a one acre former Royal Mail sorting office site between the station and St Mary’s hospital bought for £111 million last October. 
The scheme, known as 31 London Street and backed by Singapore’s Hotel Properties, will create more than 200 new homes, and about 150,000 sq ft of office space.
Mr Piano said: “The current public realm in Paddington is poor, with congestion in and around the entrance to the Bakerloo line leading to frequent closures.
“This scheme looks to remedy those issues, while creating a wonderful sense of place which Paddington greatly needs.”
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Westminster council next month and if it gets the green light the scheme is scheduled for completion in 2020.