‘Killer towers’: how architects are battling hazardous high-rises

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'Killer towers': how architects are battling hazardous high-rises
Killer tower … Bridgewater Place, which looms above Leeds, is the tallest building in Yorkshire / © Tim Green/flickr
'Killer towers': how architects are battling hazardous high-rises
Killer tower … Bridgewater Place, which looms above Leeds, is the tallest building in Yorkshire / © Tim Green/flickr

If you thought the pantomime of evil tower blocks couldn’t get any more surreal, the city of Leeds can now prove you wrong, with its latest plot line like something straight from a Marvel superheroes comic. In a move that recalls the triumphant defeat of the Mekon, the “killer tower” of Yorkshire, which swept a man to his death by channelling swirling wind currents at its base, is to have its deadly powers blunted.

Completed in 2007, the glowering hulk of Bridgewater Place has since reigned as the tallest building in the county, and one of the most troublesome. Presenting its substantial bulk flat-on to the prevailing westerly winds, it channels the full force of the air currents straight down to the ground – a process of “downwash” that can create gale-force winds of up to 80mph at street level.

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