The pricey apartments at the Shard have many USPs, but are transport links really the clincher? Meanwhile Sweett is sour over lifts and work of a kind begins at Blackfriars One, but don’t get too excited
£50m flat: great views, great bus links
The Shard is not just visible from almost anywhere in London - it’s also been seen everywhere in the media of late, most notably Channel Four’s documentary on the construction of western Europe’s tallest building. The film made for interesting viewing and it is always good to see a building triumph highlighted in the mainstream media. But I did take issue with one aspect of the show: when the narrator highlighted how the residents of the new apartments would be able to enjoy great transport links as the tower is so close to London Bridge underground and bus station. I’m just not sure that the super rich Russian, Chinese or Middle Eastern owners of the apartments will have the Shard’s proximity to London’s transport system at the forefront of their minds as they hand over the £30m-£50m that the apartments are expected to cost. You can imagine the conversation now: “It’s a great view, but the thing that swung it for me is the fact that the Number 21 bus goes right past my door…”
Sweett on a downer over lifts
Disturbing news has reached me from Sweett Group’s international headquarters in north London. Apparently the building’s “cosy” lifts are posing problems for the staff. No more than three people can occupy the lifts at any one time, lest they break down. A Sweett insider tells me a handful of staff were trapped between floors for over an hour when they foolishly piled in willy nilly. Perhaps the firm’s quantity surveyors need to specify better lifts for their building?
Another burst of inactivity
Two weeks ago I noted the impressive attention to detail being paid to the hoardings at One Blackfriars, topiary and all. It sits in contrast to the progress on the inside
of the hoardings, which, in four months, has been minimal. And don’t hold your breath for some action any time soon. A number of large advertising hoardings have now been given a lick of paint to fit in with the rest of the site’s manicured appearance. I’m guessing this means they’re not about to be taken down to allow for construction.
On a day of seismic political fallout from the local elections - and grim news for almost everyone whose political colour wasn’t red - there was great news for one architect. Many UK cities were also given a vote last Friday on whether or not to have an elected mayor. Every city given a say voted “No”, bar one, Bristol. The result paves the way for former RIBA president George Ferguson to run for the mayoralty of the city. Ferguson announced his candidacy early in April to try to drum up support for the mayoral position. With public support for the role now secured, let’s hope Ferguson’s famous red trousers prove a vote winner.
It’s what hits the fan
I’m not sure if a sewer qualifies as what our friends across the channel like to call a “Grand Projet” - even if it is a £4bn super sewer. But the massive London Thames Tideway Tunnel project certainly has its own grandeur.
I’m told that those working up the plans for the sewer, which will run 25 miles beneath the Thames, have been tasked with assessing close to 1,000 risks related to the plan. One of which, rumour has it, is the possibility that the Palace of Westminster might fall into the Thames.
Given the esteem with which the denizens of said palace are held, one wonders whether “risk” is the right word. Most people would consider it a benefit.