DIFA Tower (2)

22-24 Bishopsgate, 38 Bishopsgate (Crosby Court) and 4 Crosby Square, City of London EC2

Commercial tower approximately 300m in height on Bishopsgate in the City of London. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF).

25 April 2007

Planning reference: 06/01123/FULEIA

Tagged with: Commercial | Design review | Design review panel | London | Tall buildings

Elevation of the DIFA Tower

CABE has commented previously on this scheme, in March 2005 and November 2005.

We note the changes which in aggregate have resulted in a new planning application and that these revisions concern relatively detailed aspects of the proposal rather than changes to height, quantum and massing, or to fundamental design principles.

We continue to support the broad ambitions of this project and believe that this proposal has the potential to be a high quality addition to the emerging cluster of tall buildings in the city and to the skyline of London. We applaud the continued commitment of the client to a first class product and reiterate our confidence in the ability of the architects to achieve the high standards required.

As with all tall building proposals CABE wishes to make the following points:

We strongly believe that for this building to be regarded as a success and therefore to receive the support of CABE, public accessibility to a high level in the building must be guaranteed. We think it reasonable that restricted public access such as is available in other neighbouring buildings is offered; we note the intention shown in the planning drawings and stated in the design statement for a public restaurant/ bar occupying the top few levels of the building. In addition, we would wish to see this space more accessible to a wider number of people on a (limited) number of occasions, such as Open House weekend. We think it vital that this degree of public access is enshrined within any planning consent and therefore that it is enforceable.

As with any building, but particularly one of this scale and complexity, much of the success will depend on the design detailing and the quality of the materials and construction. As we have said on previous projects, if built, this will become one of the most prominent buildings in London. It is therefore vital to demand the highest and most exacting standards of design. It will be important for the planning authority to satisfy itself that any planning permission guarantees that those standards will be achieved in the end product. The high quality design thinking which has informed the scheme so far should continue throughout the detailed design and construction phases.

With reference to the changes contained in the new application, we think the creation of a new main entrance and the introduction of escalators off this entrance could lead to an improved ground condition, subject to the use of appropriately high quality materials, detailing and lighting internally and externally in these elements of the building. We would expect this to be the subject of detailed consideration by the City of London.

In respect of the revised core, we acknowledge that this is a rational move in terms of the economics of contemporary office design and construction. We observe that the resultant plan will be deeper in places than originally proposed; our view is that access to natural light is desirable for all office workers, and the City of London should satisfy itself that the working conditions resulting from this revision are acceptable.