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“Who’s afraid of tall buildings?”

Part 1 Project 2011
Laurence Lumley
University of Cambridge | UK
In the year 2000 there were 258 buildings of over 200m around the world. As of March 2011 there were 602. In London also there are major new tower developments, a trend likely to continue in the capital, and globally. This project is intended to engage with this phenomenon by addressing the tower as an architectural proposition in need of re-examination.

Towers are currently conceived of as iconic objects, considered particularly in terms of external form. Internally they are invariably a horizontal world of stacked floor-plates. In this project, however, the form becomes a simple container and the effort of design is turned inwards. The enormous potential of the tower for drama is exploited by carving up the internal volume in order to bring the experience of scale and verticality inside, exploring, in a sense, the ‘towerness’ of the tower. These moves respond moreover to the particular context of the building (see below), which is penetrated by a series of views of vertical landmarks on the London skyline.

This rethinking of the tower in more formal and conceptual terms is matched by close attention to structure, servicing, circulation, and basic regulations (especially as regards fire) as appropriate for the brief: a mixed-use tower over the new Crossrail development at Tottenham Court Road station.

Laurence Lumley


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