Above: View of the tower, under dramatic lighting conditions, seen from the pavement in Walworth Road.
Strata (also known as Strata SE1 and with a Website called ‘stratalondon.com) has been popularly nick-named as the ‘Razor’ or the ‘Philishave’. It is a 148-metre (486 ft), 43-storey building at Elephant and Castle in the London Borough of Southwark. Designed by BFLS (formerly Hamiltons) it is one of the tallest residential buildings in London. More than 1,000 residents live in its 408 flats which offer a mixture of stunning studios as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, all with floor-to-ceiling windows and inspiring views of London.
The tower was first proposed in 2005. Construction began in 2007 and it was completed in June 2010. The cost is estimated at £113.5 million. The building was ‘topped out’ in June 2009.
Turbines were installed in the sloping part of the tower, almost at the top, in May 2010. The three 9-metre (30 ft) wind turbines are rated at 19 kW each and were anticipated to produce a combined 50 MWh of electricity per year. They were expected to generate sufficient energy to provide power for the common areas of the building (8% of the energy needs of the building), although questions about their real efficiency remain unanswered.
It seems that the residents, living in the upper floor penthouses, objected to the noise and vibration of the spinning blades. This prompted the project director Ian Bogle to suggest that they should be turned off between 11pm and 7am each night. The whole idea of the wind turbines has therefore been rather a waste of time. It is not known if they are ever turned at all these days but nobody seems to have seen them working recently.
Views from Strata
The views from a Strata apartment are spectacular and without equal – from all levels. The immense floor to ceiling windows open out onto seemingly endless vistas of London – it’s a vast panorama that’s not for the faint-hearted.
All the sights of London can be seen from the higher parts of the tower. By looking west, residents can see Big Ben and the London Eye. Looking straight ahead, they see Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral. Eastern views include the high-rises of the City of London and Canary Wharf. Finally, looking south, views extend across South London to the Crystal Palace mast at one end of the long ridge called Sydenham Hill.