The new £775m plans have turned the pole into a cube
Renzo Piano has revealed his dramatically resized replacement for the Paddington Pole - a giant cube a fifth the height of the original proposal.
The new plans for the £775m redevelopment of the former Royal Mail sorting office next to Paddington Station have turned the 72-storey pole into a 14-storey cube.
The Paddington Cube also ditches the 330 luxury flats that would have capped the tower. Instead it contains offices and retail lifted 12m above 1.35 acres of new public realm.
The scheme, by a joint venture between Great Western Developments and Sellar (SPL), will provide 360,000sq ft of office space plus 80,000sq ft of retail and restaurants over five levels, including a rooftop restaurant.
Access to Paddington Station will be improved and the development will include a £65m investment in a new Bakerloo line station and ticket hall.
It emerged that Shard architect William Matthews - who set up his own practice after leaving Renzo Piano Building Workshop after the Shard opened - was also involved in the design. His practice, William Matthews Associates, has been working on the public realm with BDP.
Matthews told Building Sellar ditched the flats partly because offices are less contentious and prompt fewer complaints than luxury flats.
He said: “All the consultation has been much more favourable. There was a concern with the previous scheme because of the resi and the growing tiredness and anger in some quarters about high-end resi. People are much more forgiving about an office building. I understand that.”
The decision was also a response to the strength of demand for office space in central London, added Matthews.
Renzo Piano and Joost Moolhuijzen of RPBW said: “When you exit the station you will see a clear floating cube ‘levitating’ above the ground.
“We are obsessed with lightness and have given the building a sense of flying above the ground and defying the laws of gravity. The façade will be crystalline, like a fine lace of steel and glass in a clear pattern like the beautiful arches and skylights of Brunel’s station.”