Revised plans have been shown for what will become London’s tallest skyscraper, with a new 11th-floor public garden and retaining the top-floor viewing gallery.
The site at One Undershaft sits within the cluster of city skyscrapers between the Gherkin, the Cheesegrater and 22 Bishopsgate — and would replace St Helen’s Tower, a 28 storey building constructed in the late 1960s and refurbished in 1992.
The current plans are for a tall slender rectangle with a square footprint, rising to 73 floors and 305 metres high – just a touch lower than The Shard. The revised plan is for a building that’s wider at the base and steps back as it gets taller until the top section is roughly the same profile as the already approved building.
That means it’s taking over more space at street level than initially intended, but commercially, it can offer wider floors for companies that want to keep staff together. The developer says that the replacement design would increase the size of the office space by about 20 percent.
The loss of street space is countered by including a 10th-floor food and drinks space and an 11th-floor public garden. The public garden will wrap around the building, and then a “tongue” will protrude out to expand the space considerably.
The top of the building will also be open to the public, as had already been agreed to, with a viewing gallery similar to those offered at nearby Horizon 22 or The Lookout, and also a whole floor for education that the London Museum will manage.
The height is growing, with one extra floor to take it to 74 storeys in height and 4.66 metres taller compared to the 2016 design. That nudges it just a tiny bit taller than The Shard, by just 6cm (309.60 vs 309.66), which was undoubtedly done for entirely commercially sensible reasons and not at all so that it can nab the title of London’s tallest building.
There’s a public exhibition about the plans on 6th December between 11:30am and 2:30pm at St Ethelburga’s Church, Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AG.