Recently in Development Category
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
Last week Derwent London announced its annual results for 2012. Derwent London is focussed on Real Estate investment and regeneration; it owns and manages a wide investment portfolio totalling 5.4 million sq ft, with primary focus being offices across central London.
The company announced a £52.5 million profit before tax for 2012, increasing its NAV per share by 11% to 1,886p. This was aided by £13.3 million of lettings across 340,000 sq ft and major developments and refurbishments rising by 14.1% in value. With overseas London investment thriving, it's interesting to see a company which is focused mainly on London commercial property attaining positive results.
The year saw Derwent obtain planning for six major consents, totalling 655,000 sq ft. This included 125,162 sq ft of office space at 1 Page Street, SW1, as well as a mixed use scheme comprising 275,000 sq ft in total at 1 Oxford Street, W1. The latter will be above Tottenham Court station, where Derwent intends to exercise its option to reacquire the site from Crossrail upon completion of the works.
To those of us who follow such things, this should all come as no surprise. The group ended 2011 with recognition in the form of Estates Gazette's Office Property Company of the Year, beating off strong and varied competition from the likes of Land Securities and British Land. The judges felt the group had "emerged from the recession in a strong position with an exciting pipeline of projects".
In similar fashion, at the end of 2012 Derwent was named the 'most admired company' in the commercial property sector Management Today awards.
Derwent attributes such recognition to its commitment in "investing in improving areas in the West End and City borders, offering tenants great space, in well-designed buildings at reasonable rents in the appealing locations of the future".
Derwent got off to an impressive start in 2012, with fourteen lettings in the first quarter. Interestingly, by income 55% of Derwent's transactions were pre-lets, including an impressive 125,162 sq ft at 1 Page Street, SW1, to Burberry in February, the largest West End pre-let of 2012. This was taken on a twenty year lease and Burberry will pay £5.3 million per annum with £50.00 per sq ft over the top three floors and £45.00 on a typical mid floor level.
Another large pre-let was the lower ground and ground floors at 1 Stephen Street, W1 in March; a total of 15,400 sq ft to BrandOpus LLP on a ten year lease, which therefore means the design agency has tripled its occupation in Derwent's porfolio.
Other major lettings include that of the refurbished 10-4 Pentonville Road, N1 in October, a total of 48,455 sq ft to Ticketmaster on a twelve year lease at £42.50 per sq ft and also a further 11,162 sq ft letting in November to existing tenant Grey Advertising Limited at £45.00 per sq ft at The Johnson Building, EC1.
On this note, you will not be surprised to hear that 27% of Derwent's 2012 lettings were to Technology Media and Telecommunications (TMT) companies, increasing to 68% if wider creative industries are also included. Indeed, Derwent makes special reference to a mid year visit to Silicon Valley to meet tenants considering expanding to the UK and to see the occupational requirements. This proactive engagement with the market and understanding of potential occupiers must surely by one of the factors that has seen their reputation soar.
Suggesting further confidence of the sector, Derwent has announced plans to bring forward the construction of the sixteen storey development at White Collar Factory, EC1 in the heart of Tech City, Old Street, on a purely speculative basis. This will comprise approximately 280,000 sq ft of space.
2013 sounds equally as bright then for Derwent in terms of both lettings and construction. This is highlighted by the proposed 323,00 sq ft of office space at Saatchi & Saatchi's current offices 80-84 Charlotte Street, W1, which will be Derwent's largest ever development and where construction is expected to begin in 2013.
You can view the full Annual Results here.
See below for a map of Derwent's major holdings!
By Claire Poole and Konrad Kowalski
To view the interative image visit http://static.guim.co.uk/interactivestore/2013/2/1/1359683910917/471154/index.html
By Konrad Kowalski
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