The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has stood up in support of the development of Land Securities' controversial Walkie-Talkie office tower at 20 Fenchurch Street in the City of London
In a submission to the public inquiry into the proposed redevelopment, the architectural watchdog argued that the building should be given consent, subject to conditions related to detailed design and public access.
Contrary to concerns that the design will negatively affect the historic environment and compromise views of the Tower of London, CABE said the redevelopment caused limited harm to the local conservation areas. It also said the public space on top of the building would provide unrivalled views of the City, benefiting both London and the world heritage site.
CABE also suggested that Rafael Vinoly’s innovative design would capture the public imagination and help improve the sustainability of the project, extending its lifespan beyond what would normally be expected of an office-led tall building.
'We don't believe that change automatically equals harm,' said Selina Mason, director of architecture and design review at CABE.
'Quite the contrary. In a dynamic and changing city like London, a new, high-quality building can have a positive effect on views from a conservation area.
'Indeed, one of the strengths of the architectural experience in the City comes from the excitement of dramatic contrasts and changes in scale.
'We believe this design would enhance the experience of a world city, driven by the character and dynamism of a thriving commercial economy.'