A 307m sculpted glazed tower on Bishopsgate in central London has been submitted for planning permission, with the backing of City planners. Following opposition to an original tower design by Helmut Jahn two years ago, the scheme's German investment client, DIFA, bought the site next door and appointed a new architect, KPF. If it does win planning, Bishopsgate Tower will form the highest element to date of the planned 'eastern cluster' of tall buildings the City is ambitious to promote, and will be similar in height to Renzo Piano's 'shard' building, which will be sited across the river at London Bridge. The proposal is close to the old CU Tower (now the Aviva Building) and the tower planned by the Richard Rogers Partnership for the British Land Company. Key design elements of the KPF tower include:
? the folding form, comprising 'snakeskin' glazed panels, which are intended to give a shimmering effect as they wrap around the Arup structure in two planes;
? the cutaway top, forming a distinctive skyline element quite unlike near neighbours Tower 42 and Swiss Re;
? the canopy at the base of the building, the structure and form of which derive from the computer-designed facade; and - the 18m-high entrance to the complex, which includes public uses at ground-floor, fi rst-floor and second-floor levels, complemented by a publicly accessible restaurant and bar at floors 42 and 43.
The proposal benefits from the wider footprint created by DIFA's site purchase.
The tower, which will become Britain's second-tallest building after Piano's Shard of Glass, will stay out of key views of the St Paul's dome from Fleet Street/Ludgate Hill. At the ground plane the proposal has a free-form urban landscape quality. KPF's Lee Polisano has now been given the rare opportunity to design two major towers on the same street - work on his design for Gerald Ronson's Bishopsgate site, the Heron Tower, is expected to start on site later this year.