Birmingham means business
Doone Silver Architects’ design for a new tower at 103 Colmore Row, Birmingham, has been given planning permission. The 26-storey structure will replace John Madin’s 1970s Natwest Tower in the city’s central business district. Plans show a contemporary design mostly clad in glass, with four long, slim rectangular blocks increasing in height to a central tower, which is topped by a ‘lantern’ space. This is intended to house a rooftop restaurant and bar, giving 360° views. The building will provide 18,580sq m of office space accommodating 2,000 people, and 1,400sq m of street-level units including a café and winter garden.
It is due to complete early 2018.
Coffey Refurb Gets Planning
Clerkenwell-based Coffey Architects has recently gained planning permission for a 1600 sq m office refurb and rooftop extension in Kentish Town. Historic features such as cast iron columns and exposed timber ceilings will be retained alongside modern interventions such as a new lighting system and double glazing. The existing four storey building in the former Imperial Organ and Piano Company factory will also benefit from a lightweight roof extension. The refurbishment of this Victorian property is already underway, with the project due to complete in early 2016.
New riverside offices unveiled
Saracen Interiors has designed and fitted out a new London office for Tata Communications. Located on the north bank of the Thames, the project’s reception area has a complementary natural material palette, including walnut and stone, plus a bespoke desk of graphite and steel. The design features elevated ceiling sections with uplighters, a media wall and porcelain floor tiles, plus a 30m ceiling raft marking a central work zone. Elsewhere are workstations by Senator and seating booths by Knoll. Saracen’s design includes integrated ‘plug and play’ technology and varying desk heights to increase vitality in the workforce and encourage collaboration.
Walkie Talkie Carbuncle
The Walkie Talkie (20 Fenchurch Street) by Rafael Viñoly has won this year’s Carbuncle Cup, which names and shames Britain’s worst new buildings. The award is organised by Building Design, nominated by the public and selected by a panel of judges. The infamous London office building was a shoo-in for the award after its concave facade caused a beam of heat that melted a car bumper, and reportedly created a wind tunnel at its base. Its top-heavy, bulky form has gained overwhelmingly negative feedback from critics and Londoners alike. Of the six buildings shortlisted for this year’s award, four are in London and three are student accommodation.