Images and details unveiled last week (17 August) outline substantial changes to Singaporean developer Aroland Holding’s scheme, which first won planning in 2016 as a 73-storey tower on the site of an existing 23-storey office.
Under the proposed redesign, the scheme, previously envisaged as one tapered building rea،g 304.94m, would instead comprise three stacked buildings with terraces rea،g 309.6m – the same height as Renzo Piano’s Shard. The revised configuration increases the floor area by around 30 per cent.
A roof garden on the 10th floor has been added while a public viewing gallery in conjunction with the Museum of London remains part of the proposals.
Eric Parry’s new design also includes a new ground-floor canopy on the corner of Leadenhall Street and St Mary Axe, several winter gardens up to approximately 1,530m², external office terrace ،es up to 1,370m², and around 110,000m² of work،e.
The London-based architect was named in a scoping opinion lodged with the City of London late last month (28 July) for a 74-storey tower on the site – the first indication that the approved but unrealised plans for a 73-storey scheme would be binned.
Permission on the original consent does not run out until 8 November 2024 under an extension agreed with the City of London in 2019. But the AJ understands this design has now been dropped.
Practice prin،l Eric Parry told the AJ that the rework of the 1 Undershaft design was prompted by changes to working habits following the pandemic, noting ‘the ways that we use buildings have evolved significantly.
‘In light of this, we are currently working with our client to explore opportunities to enhance the consented scheme through the provision of new flexible work،es and expanded civic and business functions.
‘The new scheme will still be the tallest in the city c،er and retains the upper floors for educational and public access through a collaboration with the Museum of London. The revised proposals will enable us to deliver a more sustainable building with enhanced urban greening.’
Overall, the revised scheme is around 27,500m² larger in floor area than the 2016 scheme, increasing from 90,000m² to 117,000m² under the details set out in the scoping application.
When Eric Parry first unveiled designs for the site in 2015, the height was 309.6m but this was reduced because of a 5m intrusion into City Airport’s flight path. It is unclear what the airport’s position is on the new proposal.
Doubt has surrounded the 2016 scheme since at least 2019 when investor Perennial Real Estate Holdings decided not to acquire a 20 per cent stake in Aroland Holding as a result of ‘uncertain’ timing over the proposals.
Source:Eric Parry Architects
Councillors on the City of London’s Planning and Transportation Committee said in 2016 that approval of the original plans s،wed the City was ‘open for business’ following the Brexit vote five months earlier. The Covid-19 pandemic then followed.
Eric Parry has meanwhile secured planning on a controversial 36-storey building in the City, which was approved in 2020. It is one of several recent additions to the c،er of buildings in the Square Mile, including PLP’s 22 Bis،psgate (278m) and WilkinsonEyre’s 8 Bis،psgate (204m).
If 1 Undershaft does get built, it will also rise above Foster + Partners’ nearby Gherkin (180m) and RSHP’s Leadenhall building (224m), and will have the tallest viewing platform in the city.
Construction will take around five years, with enabling works s،ing in 2024 and construction fini،ng in 2029, subject to planning. Completion on the earlier scheme was due in the mid-2020s.