The sky has a limit: Planned giant London ‘Endless City’ skyscraper won’t fit with Manchester, says futurist

Don’t expect any 300metre ‘all-in-one’ skyscrapers in Manchester anytime soon, says a Manchester futurist.

Radical design images of the Endless City project, a London skyscraper design that incorporates all the sectors of a single city under one roof, emerged yesterday.

MM asked Tom Cheesewright if SURE architecture’s award-winning vision could be a glimpse into the future – but he played down the chances of a similar building dominating the Manchester skyline.

“It’s unlikely we’ll see a tower like that in Manchester, especially on that scale,” said Applied Futurist Tom, who founded consultancy firm Book of the Future.

“There are not the same population pressures that there are in the South East. We don’t have that same level of need.

“And such a complex project like that will have high capital costs and there is not the same demand on space in Manchester.”

The proposed London building would incorporate offices, living quarters and parks alongside shopping and entertainment to create its own ecology taking up an area of 165,855square metres.

With a series of external ‘rings’ to walk around and internal ramps connecting the sides of the building across a central atrium, the eye-catching building is straight out of science fiction.

However, the problems it aims to solve are as relevant in the present-day sprawling urban metropolis as they are in the future.

But Tom believes that the three issues of population density, land costs and ecology are more relevant to London which currently houses 8.3million people – dwarfing Manchester’s 2.55million.

And even the asymmetric charms of Beetham Tower, which are clearly visible across Manchester, are nowhere near as divisive as the planned London structure has the potential to be.

“Something like that in Manchester would be so dominant that you would never even try it,” said Tom.

“Beetham is quite an inoffensive design. It is a radical design. But if you are going to do that you would face objections.

“Any radical design is going to have its objections but if it solves problems then you are going to see serious benefits.”

While super skyscrapers may not be the order of the day for Manchester, Tom expects that Manchester’s urban landscape could also be set for drastic alterations of a different kind.

With e-commerce booming, the high street in 2014 is already starting to become a thing of the past.

And it’s not just the butchers, bakers and candlestick makers who will be reducing their presence in the city centre with all retail set to be affected.

Tom said: “I think we will see more integrated buildings in Manchester. You will have shops, leisure, housing, schools and business in a tighter radius.

“And Manchester being the shopping Mecca that it is, there is only so long before we have to deal with the high street. There will be a significant reduction in the number of physical products in retail in the next 30 years.

“We need to do something with all that space and better integrate living, shopping and business.”

Main image courtesy of Matt Brown with thanks and inset courtesy of SURE Architecture, with thanks.

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