Tower-block hotel proposal in Mossbury Road: photos and sketches

May 26, 2009 at 4:32 pm 22 comments

Author: Cyril Richert

As explained in our previous article, a new hotel has been proposed at the bottom of Mossbury Road, 155 Falcon Road (in front of PCS).

We publish below a mix of photos and sketches, taken from the application documents on the Council website, reference 2009/1291 (click on the images to see bigger). On several images, we compare the current views with the changes made by the hotel proposal.

155 Falcon Road currently Mossbury Road
Current site                                                        Mossbury Road

155 Falcon Road hotel proposal 155 Falcon Road hotel proposal - building mark
Montages based on images from the developers and building print.

Hotel proposal - sketch 1 Hotel proposal - sketch 2

Current view from Mossbury Road Mossbury Road with hotel proposal - montage
Current view in Mossbury Road     Mossbury Road with hotel

Hotel sketch 6 Hotel sketch 7
Clapham Junction skyline with hotel proposal
Skyline showing the new hotel proposal (with current building line) in comparison to the nearby building and Arding and Hobbes

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Entry filed under: New Hotel Falcon Road.

New hotel tower in Clapham Junction Hotel in Clapham Junction – why we object

22 Comments

  • 1. architecturerosemont  |  May 26, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    As stated in other posts on this website the project architests wish to record that the image above with a brown shape
    described under the title “Montages based on images from the developers and the building print” is not provided by the developers or their architects and shows an inaccurate representation of the proposed building in height, profile, colour, texture and detail and should therfore be discounted.

    Further details are available on

    http://www.newhotelclaphamjunction.wordpress.com

    and in the design and access statement submitted to the council

  • 2. Cyril Richert  |  May 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    architecturerosemont> Of course it is not provided by the architect, because it is a MONTAGE (i.e. A single pictorial composition made by juxtaposing or superimposing many pictures or designs. – A composite of closely juxtaposed elements – from: thefreedictionary.com).
    And it does not show any texture actually… if you want it in pink, so nobody think that you suggest a strawberry type building, I would be happy to do it.

  • 3. architecturerosemont  |  May 26, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    When one is discussing the merits or otherwise of designs submitted with planning applications it is most important to ensure accuracy of data which then informs the debate. If we as architects were to submit inaccurate drawings then we would be rightly criticised, possibly even sued by our clients.

    Similarly if consultees comment on the designs in a wildly inaccurate or misleading way it should be expected that the applicants or their architects point out such inaccuracy. You should not expect us to be silent on such things.

    A montage to be useful in such a planning debate needs to be accurate, not some piece created, as in art, by vivid imagination.

    Incidentally both my Oxford and Cassells French dictionaries gives me something else by way of meaning from the definition you have.

  • 4. Cyril Richert  |  May 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

  • 5. will  |  May 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    To the architects. The images are obviously not to your high gloss standard but please don’t think you can hide behind word play. 16 stories are still 16 stories however you cut it. The brown image is probably quite shocking to you and your firm as this angle is not flattering to your design BUT IT IS TRUEFUL TO THE DESIGN!! why because it represents how a person would see the site if they were standing on the pavement.
    YOUR IMAGES:
    I have looked at all images supplied by architecturerosemont and you do use perspective very well, creating a diminshing affect of the TOWER BLOCK. I have also established that most people will not be lying on the floor/road looking diagnolly up at the building. SO architecturerosemont images are infact misleading. I love architecture and have studied it all the round the world so I am baffled by how this basic tower block design will enhance and improve the local environment?
    looking forward to your response.

  • 6. Richard Freeth  |  May 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    It is a real shame that developers keep trying to build ghastly tall towers in small town centres like Clapham Junction. We choose to live in Clapham because of its attractive Victorian low rise architecture, why should our environment be ruined by developers looking for a quick buck? They generally don’t live in the tall eyesores they create, but in nice looking historic houses. WE wil end up having to put up with their massive out of place monstrosities for the next 50 years!

    Richard

  • 7. architecturerosemont  |  May 27, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Will,

    The design is not for a brown building, so surely it should not be shown as a brown building. The representations on the application documents and drawings are truthful of the proposed design, unlike the inventive montages posted on this site. We are not talking about wordplay; we are talking about misrepresentation of the proposals.

    The perspectives generally are taken from 1.5 metres above pavement level as that is an average height from which pedestrians, who are in the majority locally, will see the building.

    If you look at the submitted Design and Access Statement you will see our comment on the fact that the average person, when walking through a town centre, will generally be much more aware of what is going on at street level, and the ground and first floor parts of the buildings than the upper parts. If you walk along the street gazing at the upper parts you are likely to have an accident. We agree that the taller parts of buildings have an important role to playin the definition of townscape space and focus points and we argue that the site at 155 Falcon Road in one of such sites.

    At least we agree on one thing Will- we love architecture! I at least believe that it can change places for the better.

  • 8. Cyril Richert  |  May 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    architecturerosemont> Once again I apologise. I thought your design was a transparent-dark-orange-smooth building. I tried lemon-cheese cake colour, and green-gherkin … but still the same.

    And your comment just struck me: I wonder whether some readers will think that the building is a full see-through gherkin design?

  • 9. architecturerosemont  |  May 27, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Whilst I thought we were trying to have a sensible discussion about the design of a building you seem to have turned the discussion round to your lunch- bon appetit!

  • 10. Cyril Richert  |  May 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    architecturerosemont: “we were trying to have a sensible discussion”> I appreciate your humour 😀

  • 11. Julia Matcham  |  May 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    A great laugh from both of you. David, (you call me Julia, so David is OK I hope) you can’t be serious about the colour-shape applied to pick out the area of your building being a misrepresentation? Although I am an artist which may put me a step ahead of the hoi polloi when it comes to graphics, I really don’t think anyone will think Oh God Not An Orange Building at Clapham Junction! And nor, I am sure do you think anyone would be so deceived, unless they were mad. You are of course looking for trouble and …exaggerating to further your interests. Plus ca change….
    For the last couple of days, traveling around London for one reason or another, I have made a hobby of counting stories on the many ugly buildings that litter our landscape. 16 stories is very high. Much too high. True not nearly as high as 42 stories, but, so what?

    Your eye-sight, unless you are looking at the floor, lying on it, or about to have an accident looking up…has a natural compass. If you are walking up Mossbury Road or most other roads in this area, you are aware of the sky above the roofs. It shouldn’t have to be spelled out to an architect that people feel most at ease when architecture has relation to human dimensions; the size being related to the occupational needs of families. And answering that description buildings can be pretty big, palaces even, but never, I would argue, are happily expressed as a 16 storey tower blocks. Most of the people who live in them would prefer to live somewhere else if they could.
    Perforce there are large buildings for large corporations, and these have represented a lot of fun for architects and generally speaking are confined to the City.
    We are NOT in the City. Clapham Junction is part of a homely Victorian settlement.
    We enjoy the area because of that. We do not want tower blocks.
    OK, a hotel, fine. Make it small, make it famous, make it modern, luxurious, design it well, but do not dwarf the small intimate dwellings around it.

    You say ‘We agree that the taller parts of buildings have an important role to play in the definition of townscape space and focus points and we argue that the site at 155 Falcon Road in one of such sites’.
    Translated, that means … we will justify our eyesore of a tower block by calling it a ‘focus point’ while ‘We agree that the taller parts of buildings have an important role to play in the definition of townscape space …’ are carefully crafted words to suggest a benefit where none exists.

    NB Am amazed to find that the plural of ‘storey’ is ‘stories’!

  • 12. architecturerosemont  |  May 28, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Hi Julia. Yes David is fine.

    I do apologise for mispelling the word “storeys”.

    As apparently you are an artist I guess you would not take too kindly to people tampering with your own copyright images for their own purposes.

    Your imaginative and creative side has also gone into something of an overdrive mode describing the Junction as a homely Victorian settlement. It’s urban, high density, town centre and actually in my view pretty much “city” in its qualities. Maybe you have spent too long looking upwards for inspiration. Most people who live or work there, as I have done, would not recognise your rose tinted vision.

    It’s interesting to see support for the scheme coming through too even on this prejudiced web site, so, as in most branches of design, there are often differing opinions and perceptions.

  • 13. Caryn Van Schie  |  May 28, 2009 at 10:01 am

    I read the comments above with interest. As a commuter travelling through Clapham Junction on a regular basis, and as a resident further up the road near Clapham Common, I am surprised to see so much negativity regarding the proposal, which to me and others, (less inclined to complain on the internet), seems entirely sensible and well overdue.

    The site area in question is not exactly the homely Victorian setting as described and quite frankly I would avoid even walking on that side of Clapham Junction beyond 9pm. Clapham Junction itself, considering the town’s status as one of the major transports hubs within London, is screaming out for investment to justify even half decent impressions. Many people travelling through consider it to be very run down indeed. Intoducing friends to the area over dinner etc, they could not believe the micro transformation from one area to another, particularly from the bars and cafes of Northcote to the decrepit run down buildings towards the Falcon Road bridge and station. There needs to be consistency.

    I believe that the proposed building will not only provide functional reasons for people to stay in Clapham Junction but also change and improve the perception of the area in question. The “quaintness” of the area the objectors seem to be attempting to protect is pure ideology and non existent.

    I wish the proposal all the best and look forward to seeing how things go.

  • 14. Cyril Richert  |  May 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Caryn Van Schie: “the proposed building will not only provide functional reasons for people to stay in Clapham Junction”>The proposal is a cheap hotel for visitors to go quickly to central London and the West End. Nothing to do with CJ regeneration and reasons to stay in CJ.
    See here: https://towerscj.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/hotel-in-clapham-junction-why-we-object/

  • 15. Caryn Van Schie  |  May 28, 2009 at 10:27 am

    That is entirely my point – currently there are no reasons (nor hotels) to stay in CJ. Such a proposal will provide not only overnight reasons (as you pointed out) with subsequent knock on effects for local restaurants and businesses but also, and most importantly, associated regeneration. Why not be a destination opposed to a run down thorough fair?

  • 16. Cyril Richert  |  May 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Caryn Van Schie> But there are hotels at the Wandsworth gyratory, and further ones on York Road for the budget traveller. If you don’t see an impact, it is because there aren’t any: budget travelers do not stay but commute to Central London.

    On the other hand, I am not criticising fully the hotel plan. Were you in favour of tower blocks and skyscrapers in Clapham Junction? The CJ Partnership that David Rosemont is referring to is a great supporter of that idea.

  • 17. architecturerosemont  |  May 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Caryn van Schie and others have given further evidence that the opinions of Cyril are but one side of the story.

    On one hand Cyril says he supports hotels in the area, on the other that in his opinion the hotel is to be a “cheap” one for visitors to go quickly to central London and the West End.

    Whilst the hotel is designed to be an affordable one in a great location for public transport it is not expected to be a particularly cheap one. One reason is that the construction of hotels in city centre locations is relatively high, and the land in city or town centres is obviously more expensive than on the fringes or in the country. Another reason is that the Conservation Area location determined that the external design, materials and detailing would have to be of high quality.

    The brand of the hotel has not yet been determined but the current likely room rate would probably be in the region of £100 per night per double, depending on various factors. That is clearly less than £250 per night, for example, but not everybody is able to or wants to spend so much on hotels and any market depends on a range of offers. Many businesses for instance are downgrading hotel expense to meet the demands of the financial crisis, and shareholders are demanding value for money.

    One should also perhaps remind oneself that while it can be pleasant and vibrant, at least in parts, Clapham Junction is not an area where you generally find Bond Street shops or Knightsbridge houses. Therefore it’s not a 5* or 6* location.

    Potential operators have indicated that they anticipated approximatey 40% business and 60% private customers. One emerging market is parents of local residents visiting family living in smaller flats or houses in the area, and in addition the council’s plans to regenerate many of the borough’s town centres and north Battersea should generate plenty of customers bringinging spin off business to the shops restaurants and other businesses of the area.

    The Design and Access Statement submitted with the planning application gives some detail of the economic background, with a survey of hotel provision in the borough. A study undertaken for the GLA showed that Wandsworth is substantially underprovided in hotels generally and likely to remain so.

  • 18. Julia Matcham  |  May 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    David, Firstly, don’t apologise, for ‘storeys’ I hadn’t even noticed you had used it. The spell-check kept telling me and although I thought I knew better, in frustration I looked it up …most illogical I think.
    I didn’t actually describe CJ as a homely Victorian settlement, but as ‘part of…ditto’ and while I would be blind if I didn’t get your point, you have to accept that you would like to put a 16 storey hotel next to 2 or 3 storey Victorian houses. And, you must surely accept too that this is the character of pretty well all the houses (apart from those directly opposite) in the direction facing the main entrance of CJ, and quite a lot behind.
    Clapham Junction Station area is currently is a muddle of commercial and semi commercial biggish buildings together with underused and over-used spaces. It is not particularly agreeable as a shopping area and certainly could be improved, while the station is a disgrace to the country. Improvement of the station itself should be the government’s responsibility.
    Certainly Clapham Junction area needs an overhaul, and I can see that this will involve investment…and investment needs a decent return. Developers always want the maximum, and of course they are going to ask for tower blocks, particularly as the Council all but encourage it.
    However tower blocks are not only unpleasantly dreary to look at (almost always) but consideration has to be given to the effect upon the local community of the number of additional people they represent and their use of local utilities: parking, water, waste collection, noise, traffic movement. What people living in the vicinity can see without doing any sums is that a proliferation of tower blocks at CJ would take some of the soul out of the area and create stress of all types. But we would all welcome building interestingly on a lower more domestic looking scale.
    I think a hotel at Clapham Junction is a perfectly acceptable idea. Even more than one, but not so high. 16 stories is a tower block.

    Caryn,
    ‘…to the decrepit run down buildings towards the Falcon Road bridge and station’.
    What characterizes the part of that area as almost a no-go area at night? Under the bridge, the part behind the station and further north yes it is …Tower Blocks!

  • 19. Caryn Van Schie  |  May 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I think you may have misunderstood my comments? I wasn’t referring to the areas beyond the bridge which I agree with you but consider more associated with Battersea and are subject to a completely different urban setting. I was discussing the particular site area which I state again is decrepit and run down. A pleasing contemporary building with a completely different function and setting cannot be considered comparable, height or otherwise.

  • 20. Elaine  |  May 31, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    I appreciate Cyril’s efforts to bring this to the attention of local people, and I also appreciate the willingness of the architect to enter into a debate with local residents, so thank you both. Although one can hardly call the mixed architecture around Clapham Junction aesthetically pleasing at the moment, I feel this is partly due to apathy of local people in engaging in debate about their environment, and I, as a long-term resident and daily commuter from Clapham Junction, am determined to have my say on planning submissions such as these.

    I have no objection to an hotel, as there is very little accommodation of this kind in the area; however, I do object to an hotel which would be a significantly taller building than those that are already there, and I also feel that the design of the exterior of the building should be carefully considered in light of the predominantly Victorian and Edwardian architecture of the area. It is no coincidence that those parts of London which are most popular are those which have great consistency of architectural style, and we have much to do to address this issue in Clapham Junction.

  • 21. architecturerosemont  |  May 31, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Hi Elaine,

    Your paragraph one says that the area says that the architecture round the station “is not pleasing”. We certainly agree there.

    Setting aside the height issue you seem to favour a sort of pastiche.

    It’s a fact that since time began architects and before then building designers have been subject to constant criticism about style. The Houses of Parliament was possibly the classic example and whilst he was not the lead architect the substantive designer Pugin ended up going mad. There are plenty of similar examples.

    In this case we believe that a contemprary response with references to the predominant materials and palette of the Conservation Area is the most appropriate. Please do look at the Design and Access Statement on the council website. It shows the design rationale which has been carefully considered.

    Had we done a pastiche we would have been accused of lack of confidence, plagiarism, and dare I say it of just being rather boring. In addition we would have been told that the building would be too expensive by a huge percentage. Please nobody come back to me saying we have designed a cheap building. It’s not one of those by a long margin.

    Are we as a country entering a period where we are so lacking in confidence that we just can’t move forward? I do hope not.

  • 22. Rosemary Haworth-Booth  |  June 2, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Wandsworth and Battersea residents have very recently heaved a qualified sigh of relief that the ‘Twin Towers’ application was withdrawn at the 11th hour before it was due to come before consideration of the planning committee. It seems extremely likely that the application was withdrawn because the developers were aware of the extremely high number of objections by local residents. However, no sooner has one threat been quelled, at least for the time being, than another springs up elsewhere.

    Being asked to re-iterate the same old arguments is like some form of torture, yet re-iterate them we must. Why do we have to endure these totally inappropriate buildings in our civic space. The building which would have to be demolished for the erection of said hotel is no Taj Mahal and it doesn’t seem that a great deal of consideration went into the effect it might have on the eyes of the local community but at least it is not 16 stories high. Hotels, for all that they are needed, are vehicles not merely for the convenience of the traveller and the tourist, they are there for commercial profit and gain. You can be sure that whoever designed this hotel is putting concrete form to a business which has material profit at the top of its agenda. It certainly isn’t there to improve life for local residents, but rather to exploit them. Sure, it will offer employment, but I wonder what kind of pay-scale those employees will be on. It will provide a certain
    number of visitors to the vicinity, who we are told will visit the local restaurants cafes and shops.
    They probably will – a bit – but I suspect they will spend more of their time in central London. Frankly, I think we’d rather not have these kinds of visitors if they care so little about what they are doing to our urban landscape. You can still have a hotel but it doesn’t have to be 16 stories, 8 would be more than adequate.

    What also I wonder, will it do for the Council’s carbon footprint? I can’t believe that encouraging this sort of development will do anything to reduce it. If we let this go ahead then it will be the beginning of the end and as another objector has pointed out, Clapham Junction will turn into a second Croydon. We don’t need huge towers, we need fewer people.

    But while I am on the topic of accomodation, I’ll just bring in an old saw – in this country there is still a huge mismatch between population and employment; the business genius behind this development would be better employed devising schemes to move more business to the Midlands and North of the UK.


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