London Financial District Skyscraper Approved

TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2018

Hong Kong-based Lai Sun Development Company recently received approval for the construction of The Diamond, a 56-story tower planned for the heart of London's financial district, though the project faces opposition from those associated with nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral.

According to The Guardian, the structure will be the financial district’s third-tallest building when completed.

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

The Diamond, slated to stand 263.4 meters (roughly 864 feet) tall, will feature 102,000 square meters of office space, housing more than 6,000 employees as well as a free public viewing gallery, restaurant, bar and shops. The building will also feature two podium terraces.

The building is known colloquially as “Cheesegrater 2” due to its similarity to the skyscraper situated at 122 Leadenhall Street.

With a facade composed of elongated diamond shapes, the wedge-shaped glass tower project is being funded by Lai Sun, one of a long list of London projects that have been owned or developed by Asian investors in a growing competition for "trophy buildings" in the city’s financial district, according to City A.M.

Light patterns from the facade that change throughout the course of the day emerge as a series of interlocking diamonds. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed the building; the firm’s previous work includes the World Trade Center in New York, as well the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai.

This latest skyscraper is one of a long list that have been owned or developed by Asian investors in a growing competition for "trophy buildings" in the city’s financial district, according to City A.M.

Side by Side in Harmony?

"Leading to a church dating back to the 12th century, this development demonstrates the City’s distinctive ability to house the old and new side by side, while becoming more accessible to creative workers and members of the public,” said Chris Hayward, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee. "More than ever we are seeing businesses make location decisions based on the quality of built environment and public realm that they can offer their employees."

St. Paul’s Cathedral managers have voiced their dissatisfaction with the approval, though, according to Gizmodo UK, calling it a sad state of architecture and planning choices for the city. One spokesperson said that this project was irrevocably damaging some of London’s most iconic street scenes.

The building is slated for completion by 2026.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Construction; Design build; Developers; Europe; Good Technical Practice; Urban Planning

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