Next week marks 10 years since London’s One Hyde Park was completed and the keys to its luxury apartments were handed over to residents who came from all corners of the globe, but who now shared at least two things: They were incredibly rich, and they had bought one of the most expensive homes on the planet.
One Hyde Park’s story is a classic real estate development tale of ambition, vision, nerve, a bit of cheek and a hefty slice of luck. It made a lot of people in London property who had nothing to do with it a lot of money simply through the gravitational pull that it exerted.
But One Hyde Park has a meaning and resonance that go beyond the property sector, in a way that very few buildings do. It says something about London in the 21st century, its place in the UK and in the world, the global distribution of wealth and how we feel about the very rich in our society. So it is also a story about elites, inequality, snobbery and international politics. Few buildings in recent years have created a reaction so visceral — to the point where its architect didn’t want to work in the UK in the wake of its completion.
“It became a lightning rod for feelings in London about the super rich,” RSH Senior Partner Graham Stirk, the building’s lead architect, told Bisnow. “People were openly hostile about it, it got a real barracking. The heavy duty nature of it all meant I didn’t want to work in the…
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