This is what the City of London’s new tallest tower will look like

Most iconic buildings probably don’t resemble their very first plans. A lot probably don’t even resemble their third, fourth or fifth designs. In the case of One Undershaft, it’s been eight years since planning permission was first granted and the tower has gone through a lot of reworking. 

One Undershaft will hold a spot in the City of London, alongside the Gherkin (which is getting a makeover) and the Leadenhall building, and reach a staggering 306.6 metres tall. That’s just a smidge below The Shard’s 309.6 metres. 

Back in February, we covered plans for the latest version of One Undershaft. Historic England then objected to those submitted plans over the building’s design and form. It argued that the plans were a missed opportunity to respect the rich history of the City of London by ‘maintaining or enhancing the public spaces from where most people experience it’.

So, architects Eric Parry went back to the drawing board. The new designs have made the top two storeys wider, which apparently helps to give the building a more ‘coherent and tapered appearance’. The update also includes more space for public, an urban green area and more daylight being allowed into the building on ground level. 

London city skyline with new skyscraper One Undershaft
Image: DBOX for EPA and SLA

As per the original plans, there will be an education centre in partnership with the Museum of London on floors 72 and 73 and a public viewing area. 

Eric Parry told Architects Journal that the way buildings are designed has changed significantly since the pandemic. 

It added: ‘In light of this, we are currently working with our client to explore opportunities to enhance the consented scheme through the provision of new flexible workspaces and expanded civic and business functions.

‘The new scheme will still be the tallest in the city cluster and retains the upper floors for educational and public access through a collaboration with the Museum of London. The revised proposals will enable us to deliver a more sustainable building with enhanced urban greening.’ 

If these new plans get the all clear, construction could start as soon as this year and One Undershaft may be finished by 2029.

Touch the sky 

Elsewhere in London’s City cluster, the Gherkin is getting its first-ever makeoverthe area will have 11 new skyscrapers by 2030, a controversial tower has been approved near Fleet Street, and it may soon get one of Europe’s tallest buildings.

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