The Leadenhall Building was today announced as a 2018 RIBA National Award winner. These awards are annually given to buildings across the UK that are recognised as contributing in a significant way to architecture.
Designed for client British Land and Oxford Properties, the 51-storey building sits opposite Lloyd’s of London and rises to a height of 225 metres (738 feet). With its slender form creating its own distinctive profile, it is located within an emerging cluster of tall buildings in this part of the City of London. The tapering profile was a prompted design response to a requirement to respect views of St Paul’s Cathedral, particularly from the vantage point of Fleet Street. The building’s design ensures that from this key vantage point the Cathedral’s dome is still framed by a clear expanse of sky.
RIBA judges have called it “one of the more striking and elegant towers to have been added to the City’s jumbled skyline in recent years. Its theatrical backside ensure that all lifts and toilets are choreographed into a circulation and servicing core at the rear, again glazed. This creates a constant intricate dance of lifts of different colours and sizes and their inhabitants, rising and falling, filling and emptying. Functional necessity becomes something beautiful to watch – almost like a children’s storybook of How a Building Works - and, again, a contrast with the slick front that is achieved with a seamless conviction.”
The office floors are designed to meet the highest quality office space standards taking the form of rectangular floor plates which progressively diminish in depth towards the apex. Instead of a traditional central core providing structural stability, the building employs a full perimeter braced tube which defines the edge of the office floor plates and creates stability under wind loads. The circulation and servicing core is located in a detached north-facing tower, containing colour-coded passenger and goods lifts, service risers and on-floor plant and WCs.
“My thoughts were ones of how the possibilities of office space, which by its very nature tends to be neutral, could become more expressive of the building's architectural intent. This led to our decision to reveal and express the structure, services and all of the components that make a modern office space function, and celebrate them in a clear and legible manner. It has become a well-coordinated New York loft where the backdrop is neutral but offset by fantastic splashes of colour and activity. Building tall has allowed us to create a great half-acre, city-scale public space at street level that creates a rare breathing space within the dense character of the City of London, while complementing the adjacent St Helen’s Square. This new sun-lit seven-storey high space is a fantastic contribution to one of the most active and densely developed parts of the City of London.” Graham Stirk, Senior Partner, RSHP
“The Leadenhall Building is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between client, consultants and contractor over a fourteen-year period. The design started in 2001 and emerged from the 2007-2008 financial crisis to become the home of one of the largest financial / insurance institutions to move to London in recent years. At the centre of this is a truly pragmatic design that’s been able to evolve in response to changing engineering, construction and market demands.” – Maurice Brennan, Associate Partner, RSHP
Notes to editors
Vicki Macgregor, Strategic Communications & Marketing Manager, RSHP
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About the architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners is an international architectural practice based in London. Over the past four decades, RSHP has attracted critical acclaim and awards with built projects across Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia.
The practice is experienced in designing a wide range of building types including: office, residential, transport, education, culture, leisure, retail, civic and healthcare. The quality of its designs has been recognised with some of architecture’s highest awards, including two RIBA Stirling Prizes, one in 2006 for Terminal 4, Madrid Barajas Airport and the other in 2009 for Maggie’s West London Centre.
Since the early days of the Lloyd’s building in the 1970s the practice has produced innovative, beautiful, sustainable, and practical architecture which creatively solves problems for clients. A focus on providing flexible spaces separated from service elements means RSHP’s buildings are adaptable and resilient in a world where technology is changing rapidly.
The firm was founded as the Richard Rogers Partnership in 1977 but over time evolved and in 2007 the decision was made to rename the firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to reflect the vital contributions of Graham Stirk, designer of the iconic Leadenhall Building and Protos Winery, and Ivan Harbour, whose residential scheme for homeless families, PLACE/Ladywell, won the Mayor of London’s prize for the project that best creatively contributes to the capital’s economy. The practice now has 13 partners, with several long-standing members of the practice being named partners in 2015. Together, they represent the inherent continuity and consistency of the philosophy which the practice applies to all its work.