Paul Finch, Chairman of CABE
Architectural quality is more important than height, Cabe director adds
Design Council Cabe director Paul Finch has weighed into the debate about whether English Heritage should relax its stance on protecting London views.
Despite the two groups having issued joint guidance on tall buildings five years ago, Finch accused EH of being “obsessed” with the height of towers pointing out its objections to Renzo Piano’s Shard and KPF’s Heron Tower as examples.
He said: “EH has to protect the heritage assets but if you stand in the Tower of London and you can see the Shard, does it destroy the Tower of London? No.”
And he added: “Obsessing about height is one thing but far more important is the quality of architecture in tall buildings rather than their height. The most important thing is the ground floor plate. It’s the experience at the lower level that’s the critical thing.”
Finch was speaking after Cabe had said in a design review for two KPF-designed towers at Nine Elms in south London that EH should worry less about tall towers in the future. “We suggest height lines are determined in a less restricted manner,” it warned.
An EH spokeswoman said: “It’s misleading to say we are obsessed with tall towers. We have to provide advice on their potential harm to views.”