'Gotham City' to become a reality?

19 Sep 2013

Make Architects and Henderson Property reveal massive Leadenhall Development dubbed 'Gotham City' for City of London

It is often said that London is one of the hardest cities to build in in the world, with planning permission rarely granted and restrictions rife in the core of the capital. The latest project to be unveiled in the heart of London’s financial district will be followed with added interest as the latest of a series of ‘landmark’ designs to be pitched for the City of London.

Dubbed ‘Gotham City’ by the eager press, the Leadenhall Street development by Make Architects for Henderson Global Investors was launched on 17 September in an area already tightly packed with recognisable buildings. If approved, the 13-40 Leadenhall Street will be a new neighbour to Foster + Partners’ 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin), Rafael Vinoly’s 20 Fenchurch Street (The Walkie Talkie) and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Leadenhall Building (The Cheesegrater).

The building varies in height between 7 and 34 storeys with its highest point reaching 170m AOD. The towers in this area of London are not only architecturally varied but are some of the tallest in London (aside from the Shard) and while Make’s Leadenhall Street development may not reach the dizzying heights of the nearby Cheesegrater (224m) it’s design certainly promises a similar impact.

Director of Property Development at Henderson Global Investors Geoff Harris explains: “Make has designed a great building in a location which can accommodate a tall building but which varies in height from 7 to 34 storeys to respect local and strategic views. It is also highly sustainable given the environmental measures that have been adopted and great local transport links. The building is also a vote of confidence in the City of London and a major boost to investment, growth and employment in the economy.”

The project is an entirely commercial venture with 890,000 sq ft of office space and 20,000 sq ft of retail. This includes flexible retail and café units on the ground floor which will draw pedestrian traffic in from the busy thoroughfare. Designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent certification, the scheme will enable the Building Emissions Rate to be reduced by a minimum of 40% below Part L2A of the 2010 Building Regulations and also incorporates 1,067 bicycle spaces to encourage ‘greener’ transportation.

Already existing on the site - acquired by Henderson Global Investors in 2011 - is a Grade II Listed building at 19-21 Billiter Street. This structure will be sensitively incorporated into the new development, enveloped in a series of ‘vertical slices’ to create ‘a striking and considered vertical composition’ in contrast to the curved and leaning towers that already exist in the local vicinity. The development is at its tallest at the northernmost end where it’s neighbouring towers are highest, stepping down towards the River Thames.

Paul Scott of Make Architects details: “At the heart of the City’s insurance district, the shifting vertical planes of our scheme rise to complement the cluster of tall buildings on the skyline and sensitively terrace down in southern views from and across the River Thames. An exemplar of environmentally progressive design, the building will reduce carbon emissions by over 40% compared to current regulations and lead the next generation of city centre office buildings.”

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