Architect: Ian Simpson Architects
Software: Bentley MicroStation V8; Engineering Configurations; Generative Components

One Blackfriars Road is a proposed new landmark building for London. The scheme contains a 375 bedroom 6* hotel, 120 residential apartments and a publicly accessible sky deck. These elements are integrated into a slender, sculptural 65-storey tower and six storey podium building which frame a landscaped plaza.

MicroStation was used for exploring the geometry of the form and producing the visualisations for client and public presentations.The shape of the tower is defined by a series of vertical curves that are assigned differing radii. At each level the floor is defined as the shape formed by connecting the resulting ellipses tangentially. This parametric definition of the form has meant that different solutions could be produced quickly and the resulting floor areas quantified. A mix of Generative Components and MicroStation VBA was used to generate the different versions of the tower based on the rules and compute the resulting floor areas. This allowed many more options to be explored then could otherwise have been attempted.

When an option was chosen for detailed study, cladding and window panels were added to each floor plate. Again VBA macros were used to assist in this process. The resulting model was then used for visualisation studies, which were critical since this building will be a very prominent feature on the London skyline. Handling large volumes of complex geometry from early parametric studies through to a render ready model was central to this project. As a result BentleyƝs integrated software environment was a key enabling technology in this development process.

The shape of the tower is formed by a series of parametric vertical curves, which define each floor shape. This parametric definition of the form has made it easy to explore a whole variety of different design scenarios.