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Farshid Moussavi replaced on Fenchurch Street office block

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WilkinsonEyre has replaced Farshid Moussavi Architecture on a scheme to build a new office block at 130 Fenchurch Street in central London, the AJ understands

In 2015 Moussavi won planning permission for a £300 million scheme to replace the existing Fountain House, close to Rafael Viñoly’s Walkie-Talkie. It had been expected to start on site the following year.

However, sources say project backer Aviva Investors decided not to press ahead with the design, which rose in height from 14 to 17 storeys and featured a fluted glass curtain wall.

Although the permission had not expired – the section 106 agreement was only signed last year – Aviva told the AJ in December that it was ‘reviewing [its] options on the site in the context of a rapidly evolving urban landscape’.

It is understood the developer then held an invited contest, also including Sheppard Robson and AHMM, which was won by WilkinsonEyre.

Neither Aviva nor WilkinsonEyre were willing to comment on the appointment. However, a spokesperson for Farshid Moussavi Architecture confirmed the practice was no longer on the job. They said: ‘Obviously we’re really disappointed, as we were very excited about – and proud of – what was a very special project. But it’s absolutely their decision to take a new direction and we wish them every success.’

The scheme will not be WilkinsonEyre’s first tower in the City.  

Last Spring construction started on the practice’s nearby 8 Bishopsgate tower, a 51-storey office block designed as three stacked boxes.

Backed by developers Mitsubishi Estate London and Stanhope, the £300 million project, originally dubbed ’Prussian Blue’, is set to complete in late 2022.

Architect’s view: Farshid Moussavi on the practice’s now-abandoned design

The design is sympathetic to the eastern cluster of the City, its fluted glass curtain wall designed with concave glass panels integrated with structurally glazed reveals and perimeter columns to diminish the presence of the glazing structure and provide column-free interiors.

To generate further variety in people’s experience as they move around the building, the scale of the fluting is also varied across the building elevations. The resulting all-glass fluted form compresses reflections of the surrounding context, providing richness and variety to the different building elevations.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I have nothing but respect for Wilkinson Eyre, so this comment is in no way a criticism of them.

    But I feel it a great shame that Aviva has decided not to move ahead with what I believe would have been the first woman-designed tower in the City.

    What could have been a better message post-Brexit, post-MeToo, to have a powerful new symbol created by an Iranian-born woman architect of international relevance? What a great sign it would have been of how open and progressive we are as a city — and country!

    How sad of Aviva to let this PR — and architectural — triumph slip through its fingers.

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