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City of London approves 35 storey “Hanging Gardens” building



London planners have approved plans for the 50 Fenchurch Street building which will incorporate “extensive vertical landscaping” - a green wall of living plants covering 20 of the building’s 35 storeys. 

Approval was granted unanimously at the City of London’s first ever virtual public planning and transportation committee, who recognised the design by Eric Parry Architects as “the first building in London to incorporate urban greening on such a large scale”.

The green wall will feature bespoke metal planters containing climbing plants on the south, north and east sides. Urban greening will also be provided on a roof terrace on the 10th floor, with a series of sculptures featuring vertical planting. 

The plant life is intended to mitigate air and noise pollution, combat the heat island effect, improve biodiversity and help rainwater run-off management. The developers also claim that it will make the area healthier and more attractive for workers, residents and visitors. 

The 150m tall, 78,000 square metre tower will include a new office building, public roof and winter gardens as well as significant new public realm situated around a restored Grade I church tower which originally dates from 1320.. 

The site is currently home to a livery hall, designed in 1950 by Herbert Austen Hall, which will be demolished to make way for the skyscraper. However a replacement livery hall has been incorporated into the plans. 

“The commission to redevelop a site of this scale and significance is special in any city but in the historic heart of the City of London it presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity,” said architect Eric Parry.

“The design journey of this urban proposition has been one of the most remarkable alignments between commerce, culture and the public realm that I have experienced.”

As well as creating 60,000 square metres of office space and 800 square metres of retail space, the building will deliver 36 fold increase in public space on the ground floor level, plus the 10th floor winter garden. 

“The City of London Corporation is proud to support world-class development – creating more great spaces for the people who work, visit and live in the Square Mile,” said Alastair Moss, Chair of the City of London Corporations Planning and Transportation Committee.

“The new 50 Fenchurch Street building will be of the highest quality design and has a number of innovative features, including extensive urban greening all the way into the higher floors and a new public space. It provides a significant increase in flexible office floorspace, meeting one of the primary objectives of the City's Local Plan and London Plan policies.

“We hope this new building will provide an example of sustainable development fit for future generations, as the City continues its pattern of sustainable growth.”

It was not announced how many construction jobs the skyscraper will create. 

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City of London approves 35 storey “Hanging Gardens” building - Time to read 3 min
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