Concept designs for an abstract new gateway to England’s capital have been presented for the second time by Make Architect’s Ken Shuttleworth. Earlier depictions of the structure were sent back to the drawing board as it was thought that their animated advertising panels would distract drivers from the busy M4 road nearby. Shuttelworth explained: “Our revised design has retained its unusual, highly sculptural form but has a far more simple silhouette.”
Affectionately termed ‘The Octopus’ because of its undulating profile and multiple protrusions, the 49.5m high complex will enclose a number of offices, a public sky garden and advertising space in the London borough of Chiswisk. One of two potential advertising boards has been removed to reduce the suspected risk to passing drivers, but the building is to retain its characteristic LED ‘shroud’.
The concept has been met with varied reviews from local residents, some such as Sharad Patel arguing ‘Anything would be better than what we have currently’, others airing issues with the site itself, Nicola Albon questioning ‘Who would want to work here, surrounded by traffic?’ Commenting on the Evening Standard’s recent review, Nigel from London termed the building ‘ridiculous and hideous’, comparing the concept to ‘a thrown-away crisps bag atop a crumpled burger box with a few mouldering fries poking out, blown up to twenty stories tall.’
London is no stranger to ambitious architecture, with Foster + Partners and BDP’s PricewaterhouseCoopers offices in More London, the rapidly rising Shard by Renzo Piano, the vivid Central St Giles commercial tower, and of course Ken Shuttleworth’s own Gherkin building setting the standard. This said The Octopus is almost another level of abstract design, maybe better suited to the extreme architectural cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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