City & Country: Offshore - One Blackfriars set to change London’s skyline

ONE Blackfriars, a 170m high tower designed by award-winning architectural firm Ian Simpson Architects, is set to change the London skyline.

Work has started on the 52-storey tower, a project by luxury developer St George, in London’s Southbank. One Blackfriars offers 274 studio apartments, one to three-bedroom apartments as well as high-end retail space, a restaurant, boutique hotel and landscaped piazza.

The architectural firm — named after partner Ian Simpson — is designing the tower in such a way that it commands an uninterrupted view of London’s skyline, overlooking St Paul’s and the city to the north and south, according to a press release by Henry Butcher Malaysia.

One Blackfriars is designed in such a way that it commands an uninterrupted view of London’s skyline

Simpson says their vision has always been to contribute positively to London’s skyline, to create a beautiful and elegant tall structure that can coexist alongside London’s historic and contemporary icons such as St Paul’s and 30 St Mary Axe.

“Cities must change and evolve and whilst it is important to respect the historic context, London must evolve, embrace, change and respond to the needs of the 21st century if it is to maintain its global status,” he says.

One Blackfriars’ unique form incorporates a seamless outer glass skin, which envelops a subtly coloured interior structure, giving it a distinctive and elegant appearance. According to the architect, as the cladding rises higher up the tower, the colours gradually fade while the bottom of the building will taper to provide a further touch of elegance. The space between the two layers will provide a unique area for sky gardens.

Simpson says his firm has contributed to the emerging skylines of various cities by introducing innovative and distinctive buildings.

The firm’s previous designs include Beetham Hilton Tower, Urbis, Holloway Circus and the recent Battersea Power Station.

“The location of One Blackfriars inspired our concept for the creation of a dynamic and fluid form, a beautiful, organic sculpture embedded within the Southbank, which is a place of culture and the arts, vibrant and buzzing with life and people,” he says.

“A new public place has been created at the heart of our site connecting with the riverside walkway. The tapering form of the tower touches the ground lightly, maximising the opportunity for people to relax and enjoy the life and ambience of this unique part of the Southbank.”

Mark Griffiths, managing director of St George, says the development will offer a luxury home with quality specification and prime location within easy reach of London’s major universities, high-end shopping outlets and acclaimed tourist attractions.

“The cultural hub of the Southbank is an established, trendy area that has long attracted visitors for its arts, theatre and excellent selection of restaurants,” he says.

Through the development of One Blackfriars, St George will reinforce its long-established reputation of building innovative, high-quality schemes that integrate seamlessly into surrounding communities, which is best exemplified in The Tower and One St George Wharf.

Construction of One Blackfriars is under way, with first completions expected in 2017.

St George plc is London’s leading property developer with various high-end projects, including Sovereign Court, Battersea Reach, Dickens Yard and Fulham Reach.


This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on September 16, 2013.

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