September 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, November 28, 2013
The summit of one of London least-loved buildings was opened to the public yesterday to show off an ambitious plan to turn the brutal black tower into icy white apartments.
Archway Tower, a 16-storey office block, has dominated the area’s skyline since the it was built in 1963, but in recent years has become virtually abandoned as various Government departments have relocated.
Now Essential Living - who own the 195-ft building - have used controversial new rules to get permission to turn the old offices into 118 new flats, complete with 24 horu concierge, a gym and communal lounges.
And people in the area were invited to the top floor to admire the view, as well as check out the new plans which include lightening the colour of the building, grouping the floors to make it seem smaller and applying special fins to minimise the dreaded wind tunnel effect at the base of the tower.
Mark Hudson, a journalist who lives in Pemberton Gardens, said: “It will be marvellous to have it used again - almost anything they do would be an improvement and flats are better than more offices.
“I have come to like it as it as though, living here over the years. So I am a bit concerned that they are changing the exterior, because once it’s done people might not like it.”
Oliver Lane, a 24-year-old military intelligence researcher from ST John’s Villas, said: “This tower has been a blight in archway for a long time - its a pendulous brutalist building that generates wind and horizontal rain as soon as you get out of the station, so this well be a real improvement.
“I also think they should create a rooftop bar.”
A statement from Essential Living said: “Archway Tower has a chequered history, but there are many local people and groups who would like to see the tower regenerated and given a secure future. Improving its design and helping to solve wind blight around the base of the tower are among the issues we would like to solve as part of our work.”
Islington Council has expressed concern the new flats may not be affordable or meet basic space standards. They are set to mount a legal challenge to the new legislation, which means developers don’t have to seek approval of residents and local authorities before the change offices to dwellings.