The Arsenal skyscraper that wasn't.

Skyscrapers make people emotional. One side hate hate hate them all and won't see the beauty of the Chrysler building.

The other side will defend the Burj Khalifa for being tall and pointy although it looks like an alien's lair. The kind of alien who, if they weren't an alien,  would read Tom Clancy.

Londoners, in general, fit in the first category. If they like tall buildings at all they usually like them abroad where they can admire them, go up them and walk away from them. 

What does all this have to do with the Hornsey Road? 

In 2011 Arsenal wanted to build a 25 story tower with scalloped edges and a wavy top at the south end near the Emirates. It would have held 450 student bedrooms and looked like this: 

Islington Council turned them down, arguing that 'the proposed tall building is not appropriate in this location by reason of its excessive height, bulk, scale as well as its appearance which is detrimental to the setting and character of the surrounding local context.

I think that's council speak for 'no way in hell are we going to let this through'.

The Islington Gazette quoted a local architect as saying: 'the height was just completely out of character with the local area. It would have dwarfed the stadium which is just ridiculous' and a Green Party spokesperson saying this was 'a victory for common sense'.

But some of the people over at SkyScraper City did defend the tower: 

'Even though I don't like it, it could become quite iconic. It's certainly interesting and is one of those love it or hate it designs, especially the cladding.'

'it's one of the more interesting student towers... but does look like an experiment. The windows look silly but the bronze 'skin' looks quite interesting stretched around the rest of the building. It might turn out okay; might turn out awful.'

'I quite like it.

'I love it, it looks fantastic.'


Even on Skyscraper city not everyone liked it.
'Looks shite'

'This is revolting !!'

'The shape isn't too bad but the windows are awful.'

Arsenal came back with this. 9 fewer stories, but only 57 fewer student bedrooms, and the soft edges have gone. 

I'm not sure it's an improvement. 

You've got until the 16th of March to comment. Call  0207 527 2847 or email 

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