The Shard, standing at 309.6m tall, is London’s tallest building, and can be seen from everywhere in the city. At Christmas, its light display, designed by school children from Bermondsey, could be seen all across the capital, and no other building currently comes close to matching its height. It’s due to gain a little brother, however, and in November 2019, the green light was given to 1 Undershaft following a three year planning dispute.
Introducing 1 Undershaft
Colloquially known as the Trellis, 1 Undershaft will be London’s second tallest building at just under 305m high. The development has been on hold for three years while disputes took place between the City of London Corporation and the Singaporean developers, Aroland Holdings. At the tail end of last year, permission was finally granted for the destruction of the Aviva Tower and the building of 1 Undershaft.
The building will provide office space for up to 12,000 workers, as well as 21,500 square feet dedicated to commercial space. Like many of the new skyscrapers, 1 Undershaft will also contain a public viewing gallery offering views across London, as well as an education centre, a climbing wall, and a restaurant. Boasting 73 storeys, it will become the second tallest tower in the west of Europe.
Conditional Planning Permission Finally Granted
Approval for the project was originally granted three years ago, but had to be resubmitted after objections. There is currently no date set for work to begin, but for planning permission to remain valid, construction must begin within the next five years, and developers must adhere to rules to protect the local residents, as well as London’s air quality and traffic control regulations. Londoners are no strangers to construction traffic, with tower cranes and skylift rentals designed for working at challenging heights permanently at work across the city, and there have been few objections from London’s residents.
Its proposed height is a concern for some, however, with Historic Royal Palaces worried that it may dwarf the Tower of London. They objected to the plans, claiming that 1 Undershaft will be “visually intrusive.” Their planning objection stated that their main concern was the “potential visual impact… on the setting of the Tower of London World Heritage Site and therefore its Outstanding Universal Value.”
Reconnecting With The Public
The director of the architectural firm behind the project, Eric Parry, however, argues that 1 Undershaft will create much-needed office space and “reconnect the city’s tall building cluster with the public.” He says that the building will “set new standards” for London, with quality, comfort and sustainability at the heart of the project. The availability of the building to the public is also key, with 1 Undershaft aiming to be open every day of the week for citizens to enjoy its viewing platform, restaurant and public square.
For the vision of 1 Undershaft to be realised, a construction date will need to be confirmed soon so that work can begin within the permitted time frame. With conditional permission granted, however, The Shard’s little brother could soon be gracing the city’s skyline.