88 Wood Street
The conceptual design, developed in response to the new commercial brief exploits the many planning constraints attached to the site to produce a building that addresses the demands of the office market. On Wood Street the scale is kept down to eight storeys to address the tower of St Alban’s church. The true nature of the design, however, is revealed from London Wall, where it becomes apparent that the building is in fact comprised of three blocks, stepping up in height behind Wood Street first to 14 storeys, then to its full height of 18 storeys, with each block relating in height to its immediate context. The three blocks, each of 18 metre deep linked floor plates, and of varying length, are positioned parallel to Wood Street to acknowledge the historic street pattern, and the irregular shape of the site. The consequential number of setbacks has the additional benefit of allowing for a greater than usual number of corner offices, which are especially valuable in the London rental market, as well as unimpeded views out over the City.
In between the three blocks, ten metre deep gaps are used for the ‘servant’ zones, such as stairs, lifts, and services. These are expressed as discrete architectural elements in order to maximise views and the space available for tenancies (the ‘served’ zones) within the main floor plates. The double-height entry and main reception area, accessed one metre above ground level to clear the telecom exchange below, cuts through the full length of the site from Wood Street to a secondary entrance from St Olave’s churchyard gardens.
The site lies at the heart of the City of London, between St Paul’s Cathedral and Moorgate and was subject to complex planning negotiations with the Corporation of London. The building rises in three linked steps of 10, 14 and 18 storeys, responding to the geometries of the site: at its highest it complements the buildings lining London Wall, while the lowest block is sympathetic to the scale of the Wren tower in Wood Street.
The large floor plates allow for maximum flexibility, and can be subdivided into three separate tenancies, with each tenant still having direct access to lift lobbies, toilet facilities and all mechanical and electrical servicing.
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