Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Leadenhall Building nominated for EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture

The Leadenhall Building has been nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019

13 December 2018

383 works from 238 cities across Europe have been nominated for the European Union Prize Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2019, 12 of which are London-based.

The selected projects aim to draw an accurate picture of contemporary architecture in Europe. As highlighted by the 2017 jury and winners, housing and heritage in Europe is faced with new challenges which the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award hopes to address by encouraging architects, clients, policy-makers and other professionals to reflect upon these issues and find ways to solve them.

The Leadenhall Building has been selected as one of the 2019 award nominees. This 52-storey tower sits opposite Lloyd’s of London and rises to a height of 224.5 metres (802 feet). Its slender form creates its distinctive profile within an emerging cluster of tall buildings in this part of the City of London.

The circulation and services form a detached north-facing tower, which, like a ‘cassette’, serves the floor plates over the full height of the building. This North Core contains all the building’s passenger lifts, daylit washrooms, on-floor plant rooms and service risers. The 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 triangular braced tube which defines the edge of the office floor plates and creates stability under wind loads. This generates large open flexible floor plates without interruption that are unparalleled in any other tower in the City of London.

The scheme delivers an unprecedented allocation of public realm – the lower levels are recessed to create a public space which offers a half-acre extension to the adjacent piazza of St Helen’s Square, creating one of the most significant new public spaces in the City of London since the war. Not only is the galleria a townscape response to the next-door building by Lutyens and the nearby Grade 1 listed churches of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate and St. Andrew Undershaft, the open, permeable ground level give access from all directions. The building’s tapering profile is prompted by a requirement to respect views of St Paul’s Cathedral, in particular from Fleet Street. This design ensures that from this key vantage point, the cathedral’s dome is still framed by a clear expanse of sky.

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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.

A deep belief in the importance of sustainability has underscored the firm’s work since the early days, and recent and ongoing projects such as the extension to the London School of Economics, the New Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital, International Towers Sydney and the extension to the British Museum exemplify this belief with a range of environmental features built into the fabric of the building.

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.