16 May 2018
Alongside the South Bank-based development Riverlight, The Leadenhall building was announced as one of two RSHP wins at the RIBA London Award 2018 last night.
This 50-storey tower opposite Lloyd’s of London rises to a height of 224.5 metres (802 feet), its slender form creating its own distinctive profile within an emerging cluster of tall buildings in this part of the City of London. The building’s tapering profile is prompted by a requirement to respect views of St Paul’s Cathedral, in particular from Fleet Street. The tower’s design ensures that from this key vantage point the cathedral’s dome is still framed by a clear expanse of sky.
The office 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 braced tube which defines the edge of the office floor plates and creates stability under wind loads. The circulation and servicing core is located in a detached north-facing tower, containing colour-coded passenger and goods lifts, service risers and on-floor plant and WCs.
The building’s envelope expresses the diversity of what it encloses, reinforcing the composition and providing legibility to the primary elements. Although the tower occupies the entire site, the scheme delivers an unprecedented allocation of public space – the lower levels are recessed on a raking diagonal to create a spectacular, sun-lit seven-storey high space complete with shops, and soft landscaped public space. This public space provides a rare breathing space within the dense urban character of the City of London, offering a half-acre extension to the adjacent piazza of St Helen’s Square. Overlooking the space is a public bar and restaurant served by glazed lifts.
RIBA judges stated, “It is one of the more striking and elegant towers to have been added to the City’s jumbled skyline in recent years. The simplicity of the structural geometry in response to the brief is intriguing, instead of a central core, the building has a full perimeter braced tube, which is visible as a giant bold steel exoskeleton on 3 sides, giving you a visceral sense of the building’s balancing act.”
“My thoughts were ones of how the possibilities of office space, which by its very nature tends to be neutral, could become more expressive of the building's architectural intent. This led to our decision to reveal and express the structure, services and all of the components that make a modern office space function, and celebrate them in a clear and legible manner. It has become a well-coordinated New York loft where the backdrop is neutral but offset by fantastic splashes of colour and activity. Building tall has allowed us to create a great city-scale public space at street level that complements the adjacent St Helen’s Square. This new sun-lit seven-storey high space is a fantastic contribution to one of the most active and densely developed parts of the City of London.” Graham Stirk, Senior Partner, RSHP
“The Leadenhall Building is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between client, consultants and contractor over a fourteen-year period. The design started in 2001 and emerged from the 2007-2008 financial crisis to become the home of one of the largest financial / insurance institutions to move to London in recent years. At the centre of this is a truly pragmatic design that’s been able to evolve in response to changing engineering, construction and market demands.” – Maurice Brennan, Associate Partner, RSHP