13 December 2018
383 works from 238 cities across Europe have been nominated for the European Union Prize Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019, 12 of which are London-based.
The selected projects aim to draw an accurate picture of contemporary architecture in Europe. As highlighted by the 2017 jury and winners, housing and heritage in Europe is faced with new challenges which the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award hopes to address by encouraging architects, clients, policy-makers and other professionals to reflect upon these issues and find ways to solve them.
The Leadenhall Building has been selected as one of the 2019 award nominees. This 52-storey tower sits opposite Lloyd’s of London and rises to a height of 224.5 metres (802 feet). Its slender form creates its distinctive profile within an emerging cluster of tall buildings in this part of the City of London.
The circulation and services form a detached north-facing tower, which, like a ‘cassette’, serves the floor plates over the full height of the building. This North Core contains all the building’s passenger lifts, daylit washrooms, on-floor plant rooms and service risers. The floors are designed to meet the highest quality office space standards, taking the form of rectangular floor plates which progressively diminish in depth towards the apex. Instead of a traditional central core providing structural stability, the building employs a full perimeter triangular braced tube which defines the edge of the office floor plates and creates stability under wind loads. This generates large open flexible floor plates without interruption that are unparalleled in any other tower in the City of London.
The scheme delivers an unprecedented allocation of public realm – the lower levels are recessed to create a public space which offers a half-acre extension to the adjacent piazza of St Helen’s Square, creating one of the most significant new public spaces in the City of London since the war. Not only is the galleria a townscape response to the next-door building by Lutyens and the nearby Grade 1 listed churches of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate and St. Andrew Undershaft, the open, permeable ground level give access from all directions. The building’s tapering profile is prompted by a requirement to respect views of St Paul’s Cathedral, in particular from Fleet Street. This design ensures that from this key vantage point, the cathedral’s dome is still framed by a clear expanse of sky.