“Die Shard II”: London Developer Nixes Renzo Piano’s Latest London Tower

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As Curbed points out, 2015 was a very good year for starchitect Renzo Piano, what with the opening of the Whitney Museum and his inclusion in the final round of firms submitting for the Obama Presidential Library.

Piano is, of course, the architect of our own Nasher Sculpture Center, which claims neighbor Museum Tower is threatening artworks in the galleries, burning the plants in the center’s garden and blinding visitors with its glare. For years both parties have been trying to find a solution, but that all stopped last August. Piano has said it would be “impossible” for the museum building to make adjustments to offset the glare.

But he is having a bit of karmatic trouble lately in London, “where his plan for a 72-story skyscraper there, nicknamed the Tube, has been withdrawn due to pressure from locals and protests against the larger development,” according to Curbed. Complaint: it’s too tall and may impose on neighboring developments. The renovation of Paddington Station in West London would have included 200,000 feet of office spaces, restaurants and shops. Developer Irvine Sellar is a huge Piano fan: he previously worked with Piano to develop The Shard, London’s tallest tower and the anchor of another ambitious development. Shard II The Tube was expected to cost up to £600 million ($927 million). But this is an ouch: The Architects’ Journal headline reads: “Piano’s Paddington Pole pulled from planning.

The plans for the controversial 72-storey giant next to Paddington station, which were submitted to Westminster City Council late last year, provoked a raft of objections including heavy criticism from architects Terry Farrell, Ed Jones and Francis Terry. The project, which featured a new Bakerloo tube station, offices, new public piazzas and 691 homes, was also attacked by the Victorian Society, Historic England and Skyline campaigner Barbara Weiss who believed the plans had been ‘rushed’. An online petition against the proposals attracted more than 1,800 signatures and Westminster Council received more than 800 comments on the application, the vast majority of them hostile.

Wow. Sellar and Great Western Developments now say they will revise the entire project, then resubmit to Westminster Council. Piano’s most outspoken critic was fellow architect Terry Ferrell:

Piano’s plan for the cylindrical tower was also attacked for being too tall by many locals as well as fellow architect Terry Ferrell, who labeled the entire concept “piecemeal and opportunistic.” In addition to criticizing the scale of the proposal, Ferrell also added his own mid-rise neighborhood development plan to the mix.

Apparently, Londoners are increasingly sensitive to their historical city’s skyline, not wishing to ruin it with tall towers. Opposition to Piano’s Tube included the Historic England and Skyline Campaign, which fought the plan with the slogan “Die Shard II.”

Man, that’s rough.3007199_31-London-Street



Candy Evans

A real estate muckraker, Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. She is also the North Texas real estate editor for Forbes.com, CultureMap Dallas, Modern Luxury Dallas, & the Katy Trail Weekly. Candy has written for Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, Inman Real Estate News, plus a host of national sites. Constantly breaking celebrity real estate news, she scooped former president George W. Bush's Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and publisher of her signature CandysDirt.com, and SecondShelters.com, devoted to the vacation home market. Her verticals have won many awards, including Best Blog by the venerable National Association of Real Estate Editors, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious journalism associations. Candy holds an active Texas real estate license but does not sell. She is on the Board of Directors of Braemar Hotels & Resorts (BHR).

Reader Interactions


  1. Jon Anderson says

    I’ve been in the Shard on several occasions and the views are mesmerizing (as is the fee to visit the observation deck — it’s nicer, tastier and cheaper to have lunch at the Shangri-La Hotel a few stories below). While the Shard disrupted a neighborhood, it was also located just across the river from “The City” where London’s high-rises live. The Tube would have been in an almost completely Victorian neighborhood of terraced houses (townhomes). The views would have been stunning inside, but it would be an out of place blot on the London landscape.

  2. Jon Anderson says

    …oh and cylindrical buildings have notoriously difficult and inefficient interior spaces. Every room is a slice of pizza.

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