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Rendering of Curzon Wharf project in Birmingham, U.K.; image courtesy of Woodbourne Group

KONE Providing Lifts, Escalators for London High Rise

KONE has won an order to supply 15 custom-made elevators and escalators for the new “Arbor” office building at Western Yards, phase one of the Bankside Yards mixed-use development in London, the company announced in April. Located along the South Bank of the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and the Tate Modern museum and built above historic railway arches, the 20-story Arbor will combine sustainable solutions and intelligent technologies to meet stringent environmental standards. The building has been certified Platinum by WiredScore, rated Excellent by BREEAM and is in position to achieve a Gold WELL Building Standard.

KONE will deliver six MiniSpace™ double-deck elevators, five MonoSpace® elevators and four TravelMaster™ 110 escalators, all with custom-made finishes. In addition, the building will be equipped with the company’s Destination Control System for reduced waiting and traveling times, info screens to provide sophisticated communications for tenants and visitors, and the E-Link™ facility management tool. The building, under development by Native Land, is slated for completion in August 2022. The main contractor is Multiplex, and design is by PLP Architecture.

KONE Arbor
The 20-story “Arbor” office building at Western Yards, phase one of the Bankside Yards mixed-use development in London; image courtesy of KONE

Birmingham Project “to Create 1,000 Jobs”

The Woodbourne Group, developer of the GBP360-million (US$500-million) Curzon Wharf project that would include Birmingham’s tallest building, said the development would create about 1,000 jobs, BBC News reported in March. The three towers, including two skyscrapers, are being built at Dartmouth Circus, the source said, adding that developers target making the scheme a world-first in carbon-neutral developments. The three towers, if approved, would be a short distance from the new Curzon Street HS2 railway station, and the current canal-side site at Dartmouth Circus of 1960s-era industrial units would be demolished.

The developers believe at least 69% of carbon emissions could be cut across the three blocks by making them energy efficient and using renewable energy to power them. Woodbourne CEO Tani Dulay said the project would position Birmingham “as the U.K.’s leading smart and sustainable city, helping pave the way for the U.K.’s green revolution.” No construction timeline was reported.

World’s First Octagon-Shaped Residential Tower Approved

Octagon approved
Planned Octagon building; image courtesy of Paradise Birmingham

Members of Birmingham City Council’s planning committee voted in favor of plans from Paradise Circus Ltd. Partnership for Octagon, part of the Paradise development in the city’s center, to build the “world’s first” purely octagonal residential tower, Birmingham Live reported in April. The 49-story tower built off Great Charles Street Queensway and Paradise Circus will be designed by Glenn Howells Architects and Grant Associates. It is reported that the color of the building will appear to vary depending on light conditions and the angle of view – and the structure will have “subtle backlighting” at the top. The council voted unanimously in favor of the plans despite concerns raised by the Ancient Monument Society that the building would be “inappropriate,” given its proximity to the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area and Colmore Row and Environs Conservation Area. Rob Groves, regional director with Paradise development manager Argent, said: “Octagon forms an integral part of Paradise, creating jobs, promoting skills, and providing much-needed new homes for the people of Birmingham in an exemplary setting.”

World’s Tallest Modular Residential Building Complete

Ten Degrees, HTA Design’s modular tower at 100a George Street in Croydon, South London (ELEVATOR WORLD, February 2020), is now the world’s tallest modular residential building, reaching a height of 135 m, Architects’ Journal reported in May. The GBP151-million (US$212-million) project has usurped two 40-story towers designed by ADDP Architects in Singapore as the world’s tallest modular development. The 41,81-9m² project includes 38- and 44-story towers, providing 546 homes to rent, an art gallery and a café. The towers overlook East Croydon station and offer views across London. Other amenities include a rooftop gym, sky lounge, co-working space, rooftop and ground-level terraces, private dining room, pet spa, games lounge and cinema room. Flats were manufactured off-site in a Bedfordshire factory by Tide Construction and sister company Vision Modular Systems. Ready-built modular pods were then stacked on top of each other on site. As carbon emissions are reduced through offsite manufacture, it is hoped the homes’ construction will use up to 67% less energy than traditional builds. HTA Design won planning permission for the tower in 2017, and construction began in January 2018.

Plans for Scotland’s Queen Street Station Submitted

Queen Street Escalator
Rendering of the next phase of the redevelopment of Queen Street station; image courtesy of The Herald

Network Rail has submitted plans to Glasgow City Council for the next phase of a GBP120-million (US$170-million) project to re-develop Queen Street station, Scotland’s third-busiest railway station, The Herald reported in May. Plans include a new roof-level public plaza and two interior mezzanine levels with retail and food and drink outlets and access to low-level platforms. The higher level will have space for a commercial development, and the lower mezzanine will feature retail space. New entrances to the station concourse will be created at the Millennium Hotel and on North Hanover Street opposite Martha Street. It will also be accessible from the plaza level via lifts and escalators. The plaza will be accessible by steps from North Hanover Street and Cathedral Street, as well as from the station concourse below via lifts and escalators. A new lift provides step-free access from street level up to the main concourse and down to a basement area, which houses public toilets. Engineers have been working on Queen Street station since 2017 without closing it to passengers, and the new station concourse and main entrances are now completed. The redevelopment is being delivered by Network Rail and main contractor Balfour Beatty as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP), a Scottish Government investment in the railway infrastructure across central Scotland.

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