Plans for new City of London skyscraper unveiled

A new skyscraper could loom over London if plans to redevelop a site next to the old NatWest Tower materialize.

CGI rendering of the new tower (c) Arney Fender Katsalidis

The site is 55 Bishopsgate, currently occupied by a reasonably low-rise office block, by city standards, which is only 7 storeys and rows of ground-floor shops either side of the entrance main offices.

The £600million development is being offered by Schroder Real Estate, which bought the existing building on the site in 2016 for £187million. The current building has just under 200,000 square feet of office space, and the 58-story replacement tower would include 785,000 square feet of office space.

One of the key design aspects of the tower is that it will have a much smaller central concrete core, as the skin around the exterior of the building will also be partially load-bearing. The outer skin design is based, according to architects Arney Fender Katsalidis, on a criss-cross leaf-like design which is based on a natural Fibonacci leaf structure.

The outer skin will however not be sealed and will allow fresh air to be drawn into the building as well as the automatic blinds will, they say, reduce the need for air conditioning for the offices inside the tower.

As with most tall non-residential towers, London planning guidelines require public access spaces, and here the top floor will be a mixed-use space open to the public. Another rooftop viewing gallery.

Rooftop viewing gallery concept (c) Arney Fender Katsalidis

The ground area is however more interesting as the building will be raised on stilts so that more of the ground level can be opened up as a covered public space with the skyscraper above. This creates a lot more space at the level where people will pass the tower in the usually quite narrow sidewalks of the city.

There is a pre-planning consultation on the tower, and the details are here.

If it goes ahead, construction should take about 5 years.

CGI rendering of the new tower (c) Arney Fender Katsalidis

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