The proposed Liverpool Street redevelopment may be ‘bonkers’ but it’s not without precedent

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Railway companies have been selling the space above stations for decades. Ben Flatman looks at some previous air rights developments

In a recent article for BD, Charles Saumarez Smith described Herzog and de Meuron’s proposals to build over the Liverpool Street station concourse and “airlift a modern office block directly on top of the Victorian Great Eastern Hotel” as “bonkers”. The view is widely shared, and a broad-based coalition has emerged in opposition.

The renderings that have been released so far have all rather deceptively implied that the new opaque ceiling above the concourse will be ethereally backlit in such a way that implies natural light from above. This is unlikely to be the case, as above that ceiling will sit several floors of deep-plan commercial office space.

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