Chiswick’s “London Octopus” skyscraper has become the most controversial building in the capital. Why? Two rival royal families have entered a £120m bidding battle for the building.
The building will have Britain’s biggest advertising hoardings which will enable the facades to act as gigantic project screens, just like the futuristic buildings of Blade Runner and Total Recall movies.
The two royal bidders are: Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, wife for former Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the monarch of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates.
Designed by architecture firm MAKE, the 50 metre-tall building will provide 4,325 square metres of office space and 550 square metres of media screens.
According to London & Bath Estates and Galliard Group, the developers of the building, the London Octopus advertising screens will be seen by an estimated 300,000 vehicles per day and one million vehicle drivers and passengers per day.
Stephen Conway, chief executive of Galliard Group, said: “The London Octopus is the most futuristic and exciting commercial building ever launched in London. Vast revenue generating advertising boards, cutting edge architecture, a sophisticated multi-functional role, and 5-star facilities.
“We believe that the branding rights to the building could be sold to a third party, whilst the media screens could either be managed directly or sold or subcontracted to one of the leading outdoor media ownership groups.”
The bidding war isn’t the only controversy surrounding the skyscraper. Marie Rabouhans, who chairs the West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society, told the Standard that the London Octopus was “totally inappropriate” for a residential location.
She said: “We didn’t think we lived in Las Vegas or Times Square. It will be seen for miles. It is an alien object that might be all right in a city centre or just off a motorway in the middle of nowhere. But we don’t want an overhead section of the M4 to be the defining feature of our neighbourhood.”
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