Monday, 24 September 2012

London's Top Views

This weekend London opened the doors of some of its most impressive architectural landmarks. Everyone is invited to explore their favourite buildings in the city with Open House, a unique way of seeing great architecture and design at first hand.

View from Tower 42

This annual event requires some organization and planning. You may need to book in advance or be willing to wait in long queues before getting in anywhere. It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday so ideal to visit Tower 42,  the City of London's tallest occupied building and the first to break previous restrictions on tall buildings in the British capital. 

Gherkin and Heron Tower

The tower, designed by Richard Seifert and engineered by Pell Frischmann, formally opened in 1981 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. In 2011 was bought by South African businessman Nathan Kirsh for £282.5 M. As the tour guide said: "it is not just an office space but a lifestyle."

View from Tower 42

Thousands of people from a wide range of nationalities work at Tower 42. Most businesses are law, financial and insurance firms which can afford to treat their employees with care and consideration. 

Those who work here can have their shoes polished in the morning, have their dry cleaning done by the end of the day, read current papers and magazines, have their hair and nails done, get a massage at the building's spa and benefit from a discount on the gym next door.   

Tower 42 interiors

If you think this is over the top, think again. According to research by the Corporate Executive Board, effective work-life benefits encourage employees to work harder and discourage them from quitting their jobs. I would add to the previous list a nursery for working mothers.

Ed's Shed/Sunken House

Architects who put their heart and mind into it, create spaces where people enjoy living, offering above all a lifestyle. This was also the case of the Shed/Sunken House for Ed Reeve, an architectural photographer. Designed by Adjaye Associates and built in 2007, it is a cube clad in a cedar rainscreen, stained black.

Ed's Shed/Sunken House

It is a beautiful home with a clever use of light and making the most of the surrounding trees working as a peaceful urban refuge. Hemp insulation improves the thermal performance of the structure while the solid timber frame provides a significantly reduced carbon footprint. 

Ed's Shed/Sunken House

Green living should be more and more a focus of attention for architects, when observing the amazing panoramic views of London at Tower 42, I couldn't help but noticing the lack of green spaces on the roofs. They could definitely add oxygen to the city and I'm sure it would be marketable. This building was a fortunate exception to the rule!

You can indulge throughout the year in the amazing views of Tower 42 at Rhodes Twenty Four, the Michelin Star rated restaurant run by renowned chef, Gary Rhodes. For top floor views, go for a drink at the Champagne Bar Vertigo 42 after 5pm (both venues require advance booking).

Other related blog posts: 
Heatherwick Studio
Designs of the Year 2012
Love London