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Tallest City tower tops out: PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate hits highest point

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The City of London’s new tallest building, PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate tower which completes next year, has reached its highest point

The 62-storey skyscraper for French investment manager AXA IM – Real Assets and development partner Lipton Rogers officially topped out at 294.52m AOD (above ordnance datum) or 278m above ground.

The 118,451m² building is now taller than any of its Square Mile neighbours, including Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ Cheesegrater (122 Leadenhall Street) which is 239m tall and KPF’s Heron tower (110 Bishopsgate) which is 257.6m tall with its spire.

However, it remains 18m shorter than Renzo Piano’s Shard across the Thames at London Bridge. It is also set to be exceeded by Eric Parry Architects’ 304.94m-tall 1 Undershaft, though this has yet to start construction. 

Once complete the 22 Bishopsgate office tower will house 12,000 workers, a fresh food market, a ‘wellbeing retreat and curated art walk’, and London’s highest free public viewing gallery. It will also feature the fastest lifts in Europe.

The tower has a steel frame built around a central supporting concrete core.

According to the practice: ‘The floor slabs are composite with cellular steel beams, providing a diaphragm-action restraint to the perimeter columns. There are three column positions on either side of the core to act as outrigger lateral stability structures.

‘These outriggers, contained within two plant room floors, are connected to the core through storey-deep trusses. The lightweight concrete mixes have been poured higher than ever before in London, supplying 54 floors so far and therefore exceeding the previous record in London of 50 floors at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf.’

Explaining the planning process - a spokesperson from PLP

We received planning consent in 2017 which gave us the option of developing a new flat topped design for 22 Bishopsgate which was originally conceived due to NATS restrictions. While this process was ongoing we both continued with construction of the building according to the original design, which had reached level 24, and, concurrently, thoroughly reviewed the delivery and construction methods and timings of both options in consultation with all key stakeholders.

Following this assessment and given that all the construction contracts were already in place for the original stepped top design and we were building at a rate of one floor a week, we decided to continue with the original consent. By changing the tall tower cranes to smaller ones over a number of weekends it was possible to construct within aviation safety limits.

PLP Architecture's latest proposal for 22 Bishopsgate - formerly the Pinnacle [aka the Helter Skelter]

Early model of PLP Architecture’s latest proposal for 22 Bishopsgate - formerly the Pinnacle [aka the Helter Skelter]

Early model of PLP Architecture’s 22 Bishopsgate - formerly the Pinnacle (aka the Helter Skelter)

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Glossy lumps add considerably more to the urban scene while still under construction.

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  • Odd utilitarian description of a building containing only engineering and procurement aspects....

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