Sunday 22 April 2018

Revealed: Plans for new mega tower to compete for tallest building in Europe title

The Shard in central London
The Shard in central London

Anna White

Plans to build the UK’s next mega tower, which will rival the Shard for the title of the tallest building in Europe, and will dwarf all other office blocks in the City of London, are to be unveiled today for the first time.

The 73-floor skyscraper at 1, Undershaft, will be 309.6m high when completed, making it on a par with the Shard in London Bridge, and will host a free public viewing gallery at the top, which can be accessed by lifts, and the highest restaurant in the capital.

Designed by the architect Eric Parry, the man behind the St Martin-in-the-Field project in London’s Trafalgar Square and the new City of London office development at 10 Fenchurch Avenue, it will also feature a large square underneath the building, creating a public space.

Some early observers of the tower have likened it to a garden trellis, suggesting 'The Trellis’ as a potential nickname.

“Sky scrapers are notoriously anti-social...they cast enormous shadows on the ground below them,” said Mr Parry. But with 1, Undershaft he is attempting to put “the public first” by creating public spaces at the bottom and top of the tower. As well as offices it will have classrooms on the upper most floors for school trips learning about London.

The Aviva Tower, which currently occupies the site, will be demolished to make way for the new development, opposite the Gherkin. The Aviva building is owned by Singaporean business magnate Kuok Hong Khoon and Chinese Indonesian businessman, Martua Sitorus.

The City of London Corporation has given Mr Kuok’s Aroland Holdings the green light to construct the tower after a lengthy consultation process, despite the fact that the neighbouring, but stalled, Pinnacle project, at 22 Bishopsgate, was originally set at 307m but scaled down to 288m, following concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority.

“The City of London is proving it can yet again attract international investment in creating unique and important new buildings. This building will set new standards for the City in terms of comfort, quality, environmental sustainability and putting the public at the heart of the tower,” said Mr Parry.

“Most skyscrapers are used Monday to Friday but 1, Undershaft will be used seven days a week, with the public able to enjoy the new public square, viewing platform and restaurant every day. It will be the jewel in the crown of the City of London and something we hope Londoners will be very proud of.”

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