Brill Place tower: horizontal is the way forward
10 July, 2017 — By John Gulliver
The proposed tower for Somers Town
THE designers of the controversial tower block planned for Somers Town have at least avoided the mistake made by the architects of the Grenfell tower.
Scores fleeing the blaze at Grenfell found themselves forced to use the only escape route – an unventilated staircase, without any windows, full of deadly noxious fumes.
However, the “escape” staircase of the Somers Town block runs down the outside of the building – and contains windows, allowing smoke and fumes to escape.
Astonishingly, however, a close inspection of the plans shows that the doors on the stairs again open the wrong way – towards the person escaping.
Still hopeful that minds can be changed at the Town Hall, Nicholas Wood, a retired architect from Hampstead, wrote to me this week suggesting the Somers Town skyscraper should be newly designed and “laid on its side” – avoiding the destruction of the Purchese Street park, an “unbelievable piece of vandalism”.
He recalled how as a Greater London Council architect he designed an estate – “on its side” – in Battersea in the 1970s and ran a stream through the middle of it, giving it a country feel.
To fill it with plant life he took plants from Golders Hill Park in Golders Green and transplanted them to the estate. And, to the delight of families on the estate, the stream is full of newts he had brought from Golders Hill Park!