The Leadenhall Building
Initially, a number of alternative design strategies were explored in order to evaluate the merits of each in terms of the relationship of the new building to the existing cluster of nearby tall buildings, the neighbouring CGNU building, the impact on the view of St Paul’s and the potential public realm benefits. These constraints led to the identification of a tall, tapered development envelope, within which various design options were explored. Potential solutions included a mid-rise rectangular block that filled the site, a stepped profile building and a slender high-rise. The final tapered form emerged following an examination of the relative merits of each. In particular, increasing the height of the building had a number of key benefits. The mass of the building pulls away from the sensitive view of St Paul’s from Fleet Street as its height increases. The tapering form, inclined away from St Paul’s, creates a spire-like western elevation which produces a contrasting form to the soft profile of the cathedral’s dome and complements its setting within the existing spires of the north and south entry towers and Wren’s St Martin-within-Ludgate. This important composition only becomes visible from the northern pavement of Fleet Street.
In addition, the decreasing profile provides a logical termination to a tall building, allowing it to create its own distinctive profile and to become a positive addition to the London skyline. The ability to build high within the development profile provides an equivalent amount of space to other design solutions, whilst still allowing the creation of a significant public space at the base of the building.
The site is surrounded by listed buildings and churches in the immediate vicinity of Leadenhall Street. A number of design strategies were explored in order to evaluate the merits of each in terms of the site's relationship with existing buildings, including preservation of the view of St Paul’s Cathedral. This resulted in a tall, tapered development envelope.
The tubular steel mega-frame can be read at a macro level within the city and at a micro level in the immediate vicinity of the building, the vertical circulation systems are expressed behind a façade of clear glazing offering occupants and passers-by views into and out of the building.
A spectacular seven-storey open space at the base of the building maintains existing pedestrian connections and creates an important new meeting space in the City.
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