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This proposed mixed commercial and residential development sits on a compact triangular island site in West London. The proposed building is situated adjacent to railway lines and top of metro tunnels and a major sewer Its location in the middle of a traffic island drastically restricts access to the site for construction.

As is often the case on this sort of development, we were brought on to the team by the client to help maximize the potential value of the tiny site to overcome the demanding technical challenges typical of a complex urban location.

Working with the architects we developed a scheme that would fit a pair of elliptical towers onto the site. Rather than being supported using a central core, the external shell is the main supporting structure. We devised a simple concept for the pierced-skin perimeter structure of the towers: thin out the supporting structures at the top where less stiffness is required and uninterrupted views reap the highest premiums. Taking the structural requirements as well as other factors including specified openings – we used an erosion technique to repeatedly analyse the structure – removing the members contributing least to the lateral and vertical support of the tower. All carried out within constraints relating to practical fabrication and construction of the building. The result is an almost organic response to the flow of forces and need for open views at the highest levels.

In developing the form of the tower, we also had to consider the wind environment created by multiple towers.

Chris Wise
Seán Walsh

Client: London & Regional Properties

Architect: Squire and Partners

Status: Planning permission granted

Vauxhall Towers