Skyscraper Dictionary aims to compile the definitive dictionary to skyscrapers. The project is only a few months old but the hope is to add a new word once a week, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.
My own favourites so far include:
- Pencil Tower: an "extremely slender skyscraper" where the height:width ratio is less than 10:1;
- Solitaire: "a stand-alone skyscraper...that does not belong to a series of buildings that make a classical city street, but one that is separately rearing in height, looking lonely";
Tour du Crédit Lyonnais, Lyon. Source: Jacmin, Wikimedia Commons
- Cherryscraper: "skyscraper with a proverbial cherry on top" designed for a function e.g. radomes which are according to the Oxford Dictionary: "a dome or other structure protecting radar equipment";
Etisalat Tower 2, Dubai. Source: www.dubai-architecture.info
- Twistscraper: "literally, a skyscraper with a twist"...maybe one day London if The Pinnacle ever completes (below).
Jan Klerks, director of the Dutch Council on Tall Buildings, who set up the website and related forum was kind enough to share some thoughts regarding his idea and aims. He revealed that he has over 100 new words to add and is constantly thinking about neologisms appropriate for new types of development/architecture, including many to describe London buildings. I don't want to give too much away, so keep checking back, but they include skyscrapers with features like those at Tower 42, The Shard, The Cheesegrater (below) and The Gherkin. Personally, I'd like a term for those with gardens, such as The Walkie Talkie.
In terms of how and why the project transpired, Jan explained how he noticed that both enthusiasts and professionals often talk about buildings from a visionary perspective, whilst he believes that "what makes a skyscraper stand out is in the details that only a craftsman will understand". Instead of using general terms when talking about skyscrapers, such as high-rise and urban, he believes the words in the dictionary "force you to really think about what it is you want to point out" therefore allowing one to "better express what they are talking about". You can read more details about this reasoning and motives here.
Jan also explains that in addition to this, much of the thought behind the idea is quite simply that it is fun. I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking this when stumbling upon the website. It seems an innovative and different way of speaking about the topic, particularly for those of us not trained in traditional architectural vocabulary. Everyone has their own opinion on skyscrapers and the benefits or otherwise which they bring to skylines. For Jan, "the most important reasons to build skyscrapers, especially really tall ones, is just because of the fun involved". The need for high density in cities also supports the idea that the future is going to be vertical and this is sure to affect the commercial sector as well as the residential one.
By Claire Poole
George Osborne will be glad to hear that the centre piece of his budget, lower rates of corporation tax, is enticing as many as forty firms to consider relocating to the UK from countries including USA, Netherlands and Ireland according to Steve Varley, the UK Chairman of Ernst & Young.
The potential influx of companies to will also be music to the ears of the office agents who could see significant amounts of HQ standard office space in London being taken up. Several firms have already decided on a move to London. Last year, Aon announced that it would be relocating its global HQ from Chicago to the Cheesegrater. More recently the world's largest advertising and marketing group, WPP, announced that it would move back to the UK from its present HQ in Dublin, it currently has offices at 27 Farm Street, W1.
The full article is available here.
EGi London Offices Researcher, Konrad Kowalski, has been looking into which agents were more active in Q1 and the above chart displays the findings, whilst his commentary is below.
Before I begin I would like to point out that the data used for this came from last week's LOMA report and only takes into account the 16 largest transactions which range from Millennium Capital Management taking 22,000 sq ft at Mayfair Place A, 45-50 Berkeley Street to some deal at Kings Cross which is, apparently, going to "challenge" traditional office concepts.
Midtown was ruled by DTZ and Savills who acted on Google deal. Midtown was the only market to have one deal of any size in it (admittedly it was fairly big) but this shows the lack of available stock and the significance of the small-unit market in this area.
CBRE enjoyed success in the City Core as it acted on the three largest deals in the market. Along with Knight Frank it successfully let space to RSA and Liberty at the Walkie Talkie and, along with JLL, let 55,128 sq ft to Genesis Oil and Gas at One St Pauls.
CBRE also acted on the two largest deals in the West End which included: 43,249 sq ft to Creston at Warwick House and John Lewis signing at 123 Victoria Street. Knight Frank and Cluttons were the only other agents to act on key deals in the West End. Knight Frank acted on the deal to Millennium mentioned above and Cluttons were involved at 4 Carlton Gardens where LCF Rothschild took 25,008 sq ft.
Michael Elliot and Allsop acted on the largest deal in the City Fringe to the Royal College of Psychiatrists at 21 Prescott Street. There were 8 agents to acted on key deals in Q1, of these, Savills ranked the highest acting on 48,368 sq ft including 22,422 sq ft to Unilever at the Buckley Building alongside Cushman & Wakefield and Hatton Real Estate. The latter ended up top of the city fringe league tables when all deals were taken into account.
Last week an article was published in the Estates Gazette posing the question whether good office design can raise rents. Part of it was directed at the London office market's new best friend, the TMT sector. TMT's and their requirements have been done to death so I shall refrain from going into too much detail, however, what I am going to take from it is their demands of: low rents, flexible leases and shared space for ideas to blossom, demands that are not solely limited to start up companies...
The government is looking to cut its London estate by almost 90% from 213 buildings to 23 and the steps it is taking mirror that of a start up company. Firstly, the Department of Communities and Local Governments (DCLG) is to surrender its lease at Eland House and will relocate to 2 Marsham Street where it will sublet space from the Home Office. This will save around £8 million a year.
It may seem a little far-fetched to compare government demands to TMT start ups but according to DCLG director-general of finance and corporate services Sue Higgins added: "Our aim is to use our resources ... as efficiently and creatively as possible..." Helen Kilpatrick, director-general of finance and corporate services at the Home Office added, 'it will also allow ways of working flexibly and sharing resources and knowledge across departments.' Sound familiar?
TMTs are also not as reliant on location as other industries and, as they grow, become footloose and can leave the boundaries of Shoreditch, as Linkedin and Facebook have done. Now more established companies are adopting measures that reflect the demands of start up companies, such as having all employees under one roof and consolidate existing offices. For example, Puma, are looking to consolidate their offices and relocate from Soho, where rents are in the region of £65 - £70 psf, to the South Bank where rents are around £20 psf lower at around £47 psf. They currently have the Crane Building and Harlequin Building in their sights. They are not alone in this migration, PR firm Four Communications have signed a 10 year lease at 20 St Thomas Street for 14,000 sq ft as companies no longer see the advantage of paying high rents for prime location.
Maybe the next stage will be in a similar vein to the likes of Google's Kings Cross Development, the new HQ Goldman Sachs at 40 Shoelane and Skanska's office lead scheme at 11-19 Monument Street... maybe.
With so much building work having gone on in London over the centuries, it seems unlikely that there is much more to discover beneath the foundations of the city. However, the site of the new Bloomberg headquarters has yielding the largest collection of finds in London; 8,000 objects have so far been unearthed, including clothing, jewellery and pottery.
Bloomberg was given planning permission to build an 880,000 sq ft, ten storey, Foster & Partners-designed scheme in March 2012. It will also include a 1,757 sq m (18,910 sq ft) retail arcade lined with restaurants and shops.
For the full story and gallery see here.
In the short two years I have been working in the London Offices team the landscape of the office market has changed, even more so since we started recording data some 17 years ago. So-called fringe areas are becoming ever more important, increasingly challenging the historical dominance of the West End and City; with new schemes making their own mark on the map. At the end of last year we launched a consultation to try and ascertain the best way to represent these changes in our boundaries and I am pleased to reveal the finished article.
The most striking changes are the inclusion of the King's Cross area into Midtown, making sure none of the action from the current re-development, and million square foot Google deal is missed; and the expansion of what we cover in South Bank, which is set to become even more important with the re-development of the Shell Centre, and controversial re-working of Elizabeth house. Please keep a copy of the map for your records and make sure to keep submitting your deals and availability for our reports and inclusion on the site.
The full map can be downloaded here. From Q1 2013 all deals and availability which fall into the mapped area will be counted towards our quarterly reports.
At the Estates Gazette and British Council for Offices summit in November, Martin Jepson, Vice President of Brookfield, presented findings of a question on 'how do you think the demand for different types of office developments will change in the next decade'. 89% of respondents thought a greater emphasis will be placed on zero and low carbon offices. So far, it looks like they might be right.
It's been pretty well documented that the TMT sector is the most active occupier currently and that they are not the same as the financial institutions in what they look for in a work space. They prefer environmentally friendly open spaces that encourage creativity. Thus, it comes as no surprise that these companies are increasingly working with architects, agents and developers to ensure that their requirements are met. Google has been at the forefront of this field as it's quirky offices and campus at Bonhill Street testify and I don't think anyone is in any doubt that its new HQ at Kings Cross will be equally as eccentric and incredibly eco friendly.
In California, the major players in the TMT industry including Apple, Google and Facebook are all in the early stages of building new headquarters in San Francisco. And guess what... being green is high on the agenda.
In the past companies have been content with sticking a few solar panels on the roof. However, Apple is taking this to a whole new level and wants to install enough solar panels and fuel cells to become entirely self sufficient! It also wants to plant 6,000 trees, including fruit trees (no prizes for guessing what) and a further 108 trees that can cost between $50,000 - $100,000 to relocate (rather than rely on nursery bred specimens).
Facebook has hired Frank Gehry to build an extension to its Menlo Park Campus. The campus, due to start work this year, will look like a 'wooded hillside rather than a building' according to Katie Ferrick, Chairman of the Menlo Park Planning Commission.
Google is looking to restore 8 acres of wetland in Silicon Valley and is apparently looking to build it's own blackwater recycling system which would run all its sewage through treatment tanks so it would be clean enough to pipe to the San Francisco Bay Area. Ian MacClaren of Southland Industries said 'it's too expensive to make economical sense, it's a good citizenship story, more than anything else'. Furthermore, almost half the buildings on Google's campus will be fitted with landscaped green roofs which will lower heating and cooling costs.
These all sound like grand plans and it must be remembered that these are at the planning stage. However, it is evidence of how important having an environmentally friendly workspace is to these companies encouraging new talent and for the future of the company. Whether it is PR or actual economics remains to be seen.
To read the full article and see pictures of the planned
buildings, visit: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/silicon-valley-tech-giants-plan-super-green-campuses
By Konrad Kowalski
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London Offices Market Analysis 2013
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