Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tall Building Field Trip to London

8 October 2013: The whole Tall Building Studio took a trip to London for the traditional October London walkabout. The highlight of this was to go up the Heron Tower with the architect.
  While students looked at the London model in the Building Centre, DNC and a couple of students took a walk to visit Make Architects, who have now relocated to the 5th and 6th floors of the offices of Arups, on Fitzroy St. It's a modern building with a double-skin facade.
The purpose of the visit to Make was to present a printed copy of a dissertation by Kaiqing Zhuang, one of our recent students. Her topic was the 50% facade in the Subtropical climate, with a special emphasis on the work of Make. Here is DNC of UoN presenting the document to Paul Scott of Make.

Here is a closeup looking South of the double skin facade of the Arups / Make building.
Here is a closeup looking North of the double skin facade of the Arups / Make building.

We took the Underground to Liverpool St Station and walked through the Broadgate precinct. 5 Broadgate is a vast project by Make Architects, replacing one side of Broadgate, even though it is only 30 years old. This new building has vastly more floor space, but also has some interesting design ideas, including some large daylight-wells for the upper floors and a 50% stainless steel facade with clerestories to office floors. Stairs are on the exterior with angled light slots.

Building progress is well advanced with the primary structure completed and floors being laid. We shall see it again in February 2014.

Walking up through Broadgate we passed under Exchange House, a remarkable 75m spanning skybridge office building by SOM. Notable is the large parabolic arch on the north and south facades.
The fire escapes of Exchange House are external, and have a Manhattan-style hinging drop-down section for the last flight! This is the only one I know of in the UK, but in Manhattan a simpler, cheaper and rustier version is to be found in almost every street.
Exchange House spans across a busy network rail line, and to the north is a broad expanse of steps - a good place for a photo opportunity!

The City of London stops abruptly with the Broadgate tower. At the end of the arcade is a green hedge and beyond that is low rise ShoreditchThe arcade at the entrance to the Broadgate tower is another photo-opportunity

The Heron tower has a marketing floor about 18 stories up, with a selection of high quality physical models
View back towards the Broadgate tower and Liverpool St station. 
View east towards Canary Wharf with St Botolphs at Aldgate in the foreground (Grimshaws)
Closeup of one of the Heron part models on the marketing floor
Looking from this height one can see all the clutter on the roofs. Older buildings have a lot of M&E plant on the roof, but newer ones are showing green roofs or even roof gardens 
Waiting for the glass lift to take us down

Shuo and DNC are lined up nicely with the Gherkin in the background. Even in October, there is solar gain on this south side.Closer view of the Exchange House and Broadgate Tower
ETFE roof over the Devonshire Square mallETFE roof over the Devonshire Square mall
Leadenhall tower, north elevationHeron tower from the East, from Houndsditch
St Helens Place. Normally this is a beautifully elegant little street, like an open air Viennese ballroom, but for the last year, this is a busy building site. The facades are supported on both sides by sturdy steel frames. St Helens Place from above, showing how completely the previous buildings have been removed. It looks like a good piece of 'extreme conservation'.
Leadenhall Tower, the East elevation. The escape stairs are behind the ladder frame structure. The lifts and toilets are in the structure on the rightThe students look at the Leadenhall Tower, guided by Phil

Lloyds and LeadenhallLloyds entrance
Willis Tower, south elevationLeadenhall arcade

Leadenhall tower, from Fenchurch St

Side view of 20 Fenchurch St by Rafael Vinoly, the so called Nokia tower, or the walkie talkie tower. It's recently been renamed the Scorchie-Talkie as the 3D curved facade is reflecting and concentrating solar heat on to Eastcheap.South of 20 Fenchurch street is a remarkable piece of gothic Victoriana, one of the most modelled facades you will ever see.
We walked over London Bridge and DNC descended to check out the times of the waterbus - noting en route these steps. Angled steps may look good on plan, but are terrible to walk on, and we should never let students show them on urban landscaping.The students went on to look at the Shard close up, although we could not book a trip up the tower as you need to dedicate about 90 mins for the experience because the views form the top are so great.

Water bus in front of Vinoly's Fenchurch St tower

Waterbus docking with the London Bridge pontoon

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

GLA buildings on the South Bank near Tower Bridge

Canary Wharf, our final destination

Arcades are a frequently used urban device in Canary Wharf, giving shelter and enlarging the public space at the ground plane.

Canary Wharf is full of sculptures that are fun to interact with

We arrived by waterbus, but had to descend into the underground station to experience the vast space.

More grand arcades, all no older than 30 years

Curved south facing facade of the Radisson Hotel at Canary Wharf

India dock group photo before we get the coach home. Coach driver gets lost, and after an hour we are still only about 2 miles from Canary Wharf.

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