122 Leadenhall Street

122 Leadenhall Street

122 Leadenhall Street was an office building on Leadenhall Street in the City of London, England. It was owned by the developer British Land and was designed by Gollins Melvin Ward Partnership. The building has been undergoing demolition since early 2007 in preparation for a major redevelopment. As of August 2008, the site has almost been cleared, with just the concrete core remaining.


Before the development of the 1960s, the site had been used as the head offices for P&O for over a century. Since 1840, P&O had worked in rent-free offices of Willcox & Anderson. However, business east of the Gulf of Suez increased in 1846 resulting in the company needing newer and larger offices. It was the MDs' obligation to provide new offices. In November 1845, the King's Arms Inn and Hotel was put up for sale. The whole estate freehold was bought by the MDs for £7,250, who then commissioned architect, Mr Beachcroft, to design the new buildings. The cost of the new building was estimated at £8,000. In March 1848, P&O moved into new offices at 122 Leadenhall Street.cite book|author=Freda Harcourt|coauthors=Edward Harcourt, Sarah Palmer|title=Flagships of Imperialism: the P&O Company and the politics of empire from its origins to 1867|year=2006|publisher=Manchester University Press|isbn=0719073936]

The MDs volunteered to pay £1,000 of the rent per annum out of their commissions. In 1854, the MDs unsuccessfully attempted to purchase 121 Leadenhall Street. However, they were able to take a lease from the charity which held it. They also bought leases of 80 years from St Thomas's Hospital on the residential properties at numbers 123, 124 and 125 Leadenhall Street which were demolished to create a new frontage at number 122. The new building provided more office space, some of which was for rent, and a spacious new courtyard.

1960s building

When completed in 1969, it was 54 metres tall with 14 storeys and three storeys under ground. It originally was designed as a pair with 1 the Undershaft (the current Aviva building which still stands) by the architects Gollins Melvin Ward & Parners. The two buildings have a central compressional concrete core and have suspended floors which hang using the steel 'chords' visible on the exterior of the building, which are hung from power trusses at the top of the building (and in the case of 1 the Undershaft, a further central power-truss). It is an example of a tension structure. At the time, it was considered one of the most complex glass fronted buildings in the United Kingdom. It had been designed by Gollins Melvin Ward and Partners and was influenced by the Seagram Building in New York City. The building was extensively damaged by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb attack in the early 1990s and subsequently had to be reclad. It was occupied until November 2006 by Calyon.

The demolition

The building is currently being demolished to make way for a much taller tower designed by Sir Richard Rogers. This demolition began in early 2007 and was unusual, in that it worked from the bottom upwards, rather than the other way round. This was done for safety reasons, since its floors were "hung" from the top. [cite web | date = 2007-08-02 | title = The tower that's coming down bottom first | url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=472602&in_page_id=1770 | format = HTML | publisher = Daily Mail | accessdate = 2007-08-03] A support platform was built around the core of the building, and this was winched up a steel frame (at up to 2 metres/hour) so that the higher floors could be demolished from it. By August 2008, all the floors of the old building had gone, leaving just the concrete core, which itself is now being demolished.

The new building

*Height - 225m
*Floors - 48
*Status - Under ConstructionDesigned by Richard Rogers and developed by British Land, the new tower will be 225 metres (737 feet) tall, with 48 floors, making it the tallest building in the City until the completion of the neighbouring Bishopsgate Tower. With its distinctive wedge-shaped profile, it has been nicknamed the "Cheese Grater". [cite web | date = 2007-07-11 | title = Building 49 - The Leadenhall Building | url = http://www.skyscrapernews.com/buildings.php?id=49 | format = HTML | publisher = SkyscraperNews.com | accessdate = 2007-08-03]

The planning application was submitted to the City of London Corporation in February 2004 and was approved in May 2005. Demolition of the current building commenced in December 2006 and will be completed in early 2008. Construction of the new building commenced in October 2007 [cite web | date = 2007-10-23 | title = Leadenhall Building Has Lift Off | url = http://www.skyscrapernews.com/news.php?ref=1168 | format = HTML | publisher = SkyscraperNews.com | accessdate = 2007-10-23] and is expected to be finished in the first quarter of 2011. [cite web | date = 2007-05-22 | title = The Leadenhall Building Go-Ahead | url = http://www.britishland.com/pressrelease220507b.htm | format = HTML | publisher = British Land | accessdate = 2007-05-22] This schedule is unusual, because it means demolition and construction will be happening simultaneously for the next few months - piling is being carried out at ground level, while the core and remaining storeys of the old building are removed from above.

The new tower will feature a tapered glass façade on one side which will reveal the steel bracings, along with a ladder frame that is aimed to emphasise the vertical appearance of the tower. It will also appear to anchor the tower to the ground, giving a sense of strength. The base will feature a 30 metre high atrium. This will be open to the public and will extend the adjacent plaza. Exterior glass lifts will be used on the building, similar to the neighbouring Lloyd's Building designed by the same architect.

This unusual design's main drawback is the building's relatively small floorspace for a building of its height (500,000 square feet/ 47,000 m²). However, it is hoped that the slanting wedge-shaped design will have less impact on the protected sightline of St Paul's Cathedral when viewed from Fleet Street.

The development is expected to cost approximately £286 million. [ [http://www.e-architect.co.uk/london/122_leadenhall_street.htm E-architect: 122 Leadenhall Street] ]

In a statement made to the London stock exchange on Thursday 14th August 2008, the developer British Land said it was delaying the project, which is currently on site.

“At 122 Leadenhall demolition and preparation of the sub-structure is proceeding satisfactorily,” the statement said. “However, we are reviewing timing of construction and target completion in order to optimise cost and occupational demand.” The building is not on hold, but it will be completed in 2012, not 2011.

122 Leadenhall is just one of several other skyscrapers planned for the area - which include the Bishopsgate Tower, Heron Tower, 20 Fenchurch Street, 100 Bishopsgate, Broadgate Tower and Shard London Bridge - marking a period of dramatic change for the city's skyline.


ee also

* St Helen's Bishopsgate - a neighbouring Anglican evangelical church
* Aviva Tower - a neighbouring office tower
* Tower 42 - the current tallest building in the City of London
* 30 St Mary Axe - the 2nd tallest building in the City of London
* Tall buildings in London
* Leadenhall Market

External links

* [http://www.rsh-p.com/render.aspx?siteID=1&navIDs=1,4,24,362,365 RSHP: The Leadenhall Building]
* [http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=137116 Information on the 1969 building]
* [http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=415718 A thread discussing the new building, with regular news and photo updates]

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