A new 36-storey high skyscraper has been given planning permission, and it will have a green wall from the 10th floor all the way to the very top.
The tower, just around the corner from Fenchurch Street station will replace a 1950s livery hall owned by the Clothworkers Livery Company, and also see the remains of the old church next to it revamped, opening up the chapel crypt to the public, and a 10th floor publicly accessible garden.
The Clothworkers’ Company has been on the site of 50 Fenchurch Street since the Company was founded all the way back in 1528. The current Clothworkers’ Hall is the sixth Hall on the site and it was opened in 1958, following destruction of its predecessor in 1941.
The replacement can be seen as two elements, a 10 storey tall office block that will fill much of the site, with a 26 storey tower mounted on top. The “roof” of the 10 storey block will be a public garden space.
The striking element of the otherwise routine blocky skyscraper that will replace it though is the green wall that will run up one side of the building.
Apart from the visual impact, the green wall is designed to “mitigate air and noise pollution, combat the heat island effect, improve biodiversity, and help rainwater run-off management”.
The tower wont have any car parking spaces, but will come with just under 1250 bike rakes for the staff. There will also be a lot more pedestrian space at the ground floor level, with new building taking up less space than the cluster of buildings it’s replacing.
Although the plans call for the restoration of the All Hallows Staining church tower, it does now look very much like a Victorian folly surrounded by the glass towers, rather than the ancient church tower that it is. That’s oddly an improvement on the 1950s blocks that surround it at the moment, but the sense of scale is being lost.
The new site development also means that while Star Alley will still exist, it will be lost within the much larger open public space. Hopefully an outline can be preserved in the paving tiles.
The development is taking place on land owned by the Clothworkers Company, so is likely to make them a very rich livery company once the building costs are repaid.