In 2004, Rafael Viñoly Architects designed 20 Fenchurch Street, a high-performance, energy-efficient building to replace an obsolete office tower in the heart of the City of London. The design breaks with common architectural expression by enlarging the floor plans at the top of the building instead of the bottom, creating additional public space at ground level and providing extra leasable floor area to the valuable upper stories.
20 Fenchurch Street is also uniquely crowned by a three-level Sky Garden, London’s first publicly accessible tall building observation deck, featuring 360-degree views of the city, beautifully landscaped gardens, an open air terrace, two restaurants and the ability to host a variety of functions.
The tower, comprising thirty-two levels of Grade A office space and a double height ground-floor lobby, ascends to a height of 176.66 m (579 ft.). The building’s profile rises from a narrow base to a wide, curved roof, making it a distinctive addition to London’s skyline, while the curved floor plates reference the plot site boundaries and adjacent street patterns.
Vertical louvers on the building’s façade provide sun shading on the east and west elevations, which follow the fanning form and organic curves of the building as they open out and wrap over the roof and Sky Garden. The north and south elevations feature extensive glazing to maximize views, while the curtain wall on the upper floors of the north façade extends to the roof louvers arched above, providing a large urban window spanning the full height of the Sky Garden.
At ground level, the narrowed base creates open landscaped plazas and pedestrian paths through the site, including a pocket park that connects Rood Lane and Philpot Lane. The development also includes a separate five-storey Annex Building to the south of the site, housing retail space that draws visitors to the plaza and enlivens the space.
The building has been designed to offer maximum efficiency and flexibility for potential tenants, with all office floors and services capable of being sub-divided into independent tenancies. The building is also targeting a BREEAM Excellent rating with the incorporation of sustainable technology including PV cells and a fuel cell tri-generation system designed to reduce CO2 emissions.
Due for completion in early 2014, this innovative project will combine public and private spaces, offering businesses and public visitors alike, the opportunity to experience stunning views of London and embrace 20 Fenchurch Street as a new landmark for the capital.
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