If only.... London office towers could be multi purpose
24 Jul 2018
"In the west towers tend to be monocultural, for residential or business use," writes Mike Stiff. "Hong Kong’s tall buildings often stack all the uses you would find on the street, a vertical public realm. Most notorious was Kowloon Walled City demolished 25 years ago, a 10 storey self-built, self-regulated self-sufficient mega-block. It provided its own food, schools and medical services. It housed 50,000 people in 2.6 ha, at its heart was a shared space where residents could meet and socialise.
In central Hong Kong today California Tower is 25 floors of restaurants, bars and clubs, and H Queens a tower of art galleries, cafes, terraces, a vertical Cork Street.
I would like to see this concept explored in a city like London, rather just than sticking a cafe or bar on top of a commercial tower to satisfy the planners let’s re-purpose an office tower as a high rise city block, a vertical Wardour Street or Brick Lane. A building with places to live, work, play and worship. A building that generates its own power and food, planted decks that clean the air and provide sanctuary. A diverse and meritocratic quarter that would not slide into Ballardian anarchy."
This article first appeared in July 2018's FX magazine 'If Only' feature