Heron Tower Skyscraper, 110 Bishopsgate London Building, Architecture

The Heron Tower Building

110 Bishopsgate London, England: Skyscraper – design by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF)

18 Sep 2011

The Heron Tower London

London – the sky is the limit

London is fast becoming a city of skyscrapers and it seems like each and every single one of them is in for the race to the title of the tallest. The Heron Tower, also known as 110 Bishopsgate, upon completion in 2011 became the tallest in the City (third tallest in Greater London) and enriched London’s skyline with its 46 storeys. The Heron Plaza development will follow, including the Four Seasons Hotel, the newest addition to luxury hotels in London and the first one priding itself on 6 stars.

Heron Tower Skyscraper, 110 Bishopsgate London Building
photo © Adrian Welch

Among all the recent and upcoming skyscrapers in London, Heron Tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, is perhaps not the most innovative (the competition after all includes both 20 Fenchurch Street also known as Walkie Talkie, and 122 Leadenhall, already nicknamed The Cheesegrater). It still managed to spark some controversy – one of the reasons was it’s developer Gerald Ronson, once infamously imprisoned for his part in the Guinness scandal of the 1980’s – the tower is considered to be his redemption.

The main argument behind the controversy is however the fact that it raised concerns that it would spoil the protected view of St Paul’s cathedral and in 2002 English Heritage run a inquiry to investigate the plan and spectacularly lost the case. The permission was granted and as a result shaped the upcoming London’s skyline, making way for a march of skyscrapers.

Heron Tower London Building
photo © mattchungphoto.com

Despite the controversy and lack of outstanding innovation in design, Heron Tower is now mentioned among the best skyscraper designs in the City, mainly because it’s 90’s commercial modern style simply fits in the area. The tower offers 4 different views from each map axis. The idea was to create something of a similar mass and space to the already existing Tower 42, and although the original plan was to build Heron Tower to the same height, it was later scraped and replaced by a taller project. In the view from Waterloo it appears behind Tower 42 and doesn’t cause any disturbance to the view of St Paul’s (unless you try very hard and look at it from a distance and under a very particular angle). The stepping on the highest part definitely helps to make it look shorter than it actually is. The diagonal bracing on the cladding gives the skyscraper the industrial feel, so common in other City buildings.

Heron Building
photograph © Nick Weall

The interior is more of an innovation and features 3-storey office ‘villages’, each with its own vertical light-giving atrium. This is set to attract many small but mighty companies instead of letting the space to one big corporation. The Drift bar/restaurant took over a part of ground and first floors. The big attraction will be however the rooftop restaurant and bar owned by Sushi Samba and open to the public, with lifts going up directly from Bishopsgate and terraces offering a stunning view of the City. The spectacular concierge area gives room to an impressive aquarium, the largest privately-owned in the UK, featuring over 60 species of fish – sharks included.

Heron Tower London
photo © Nick Weall

Heron Tower definitely sets a standard among the recent sky-scraping developments in London, offering a sleek design that compliments its area, as well as highest quality office spaces. It seems like controversy becomes the middle name of all the upcoming architectural developments, this one however bears references to other buildings in the City and can pride itself of never earning an appliance nickname.

Magdalena Wrzeszcz

Heron Tower – Tallest Building in the City of London – information received 210812

Heron Tower : further information on 110 Bishopsgate London

Location: Heron Tower, London, England, UK

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