Published  05/01/2009

Falling towers

Lord Foster has been pipped at the post, by architect, and rival Jean Nouvel in Paris, to build the so-called Signal Tower in La Defense in Paris. Fosters 974 ft tower was beaten by Nouvel’s 990 ft version. Foster’s further ‘Russia Tower in Moscow also appears now to be on hold on account of the economic situation, even though work had already started on site. However his design for a super-rich marketable Power Boat is extremely saleable and elegant in that market. Just the thing to get away from it all, from a Thames-side mooring close by the office, and a change from one’s own helicopter (also self-piloted with consummate skill).

Tate Modern has had to revise plans for their new extension first presented publicly in 2006. The architects Herzog de Meuron have had to admit that the growing economic global problem had dented prospects of raising the £215 millions required to accommodate more art. The pyramidal structure in brick is well matched to the existing Tate Modern building, for which they were also the architects, respecting the original brick architecture of the former Power Station.

Leicester Square can welcome the new building that will replace the drearily outmoded Swiss Centre. Fortunately what is there proposed is not a tower but an elegant hotel of eight storeys, with 194 rooms. The architects are a rising duo, Jestico and Whiles. The mainly glazed walls and curved corner work well with the urban footprint of the Square and its entertainment culture. Guests could have so much light relief around they may never get to bed. The clients are Starwood’s W Hotels. Completion will be in 2010.
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