'Kodak Tower' replacement
apartment block in Hemel Hempstead at the Magic Roundabout
By Ian Phipps
This was a much taller structure owned by The Kodak Corporation who used to own most of Hemel Hempstead. In fact, Hemel was often referred to as “Kodaktown”. Kodak had a large investment in production facilities as well as this office building called ‘The Kodak Tower’. The developers have been removing floors and the outside walls which were made from concrete which was not unattractive, originally a honey colour. The ‘Kodak Tower’ was designed by Sir Thomas Bennett KBE FRIBA and supported by a design team which included Edward Winkless FRIBA who regularly inspected the construction work of the new building, travelling up from London.
However, there is much debate and polarised opinion concerning the replacement which is said to look a little “tacky”. Particularly since it occupies a key site in the town and it is such an iconic building that most of the residents can see, most of the time.
It is very similar to a building situated next to the O2 Dome in Greenwich (see the last photograph).
The block, it is said, will contain a variety of apartments from ‘luxury’ to ‘affordable social’. The top of the building appears to have penthouse apartments being built on the top two floors, which have been added after the reduction in height had taken place.
Only time will tell. I have included some text from the press release by the developers – Dandara.
“On completion in 2010, Image will comprise of six new buildings and the dramatic transformation of the former Kodak Tower, providing 434 new apartments, including 196 designated as ‘affordable housing,’ along with car parking at both surface level and beneath the podium.
At the heart of the development will be retail units and offices, overlooking a new landscaped square that will be open to the public.
Dandara is also constructing a new pedestrian footbridge to link the development with the town centre.“