Renzo Piano's "skinny Shard" tower proposed for London

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Unofficial nickname of "skinny Shard" notwithstanding, 31 London Street bears few stylistic similarities to its Neo-Futurist predecessor(Credit: Renzo Piano Building Workshop)

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Renzo Piano has already made his mark on London with the Shard, but the Italian architect isn't done yet. His firm has reunited with Shard developer Sellar Property Group to propose a £1 billion (roughly US$1.54 billion) development for the UK capital. Should the mixed-use project be realized, 31 London Street will rise to a height of 65 stories and feature luxury homes, office and retail spaces, and a large public space.

Unofficial nickname of "skinny Shard" notwithstanding, 31 London Street shares few stylistic similarities with its Neo-Futurist predecessor. Piano is aiming for elegant not edgy, and though judging from early renders is risky, the cylindrical tower looks likely to complement rather than dominate its surroundings.

31 London Street is slated for the site of a former Royal Mail sorting office situated next to Paddington Station. It will reach a height of 224 m (734 ft), thus making it one of the tallest towers in the city, behind only the Shard, One Canada Square, Heron Tower, and the Cheesegrater (which is rated a mere meter taller).

The development will include 200 luxury homes, a relatively modest 14,000 sq m (150,000 sq ft) of office space, and an even more modest 4,645 sq m (50,000 sq ft) of retail, restaurant, and café spaces. An open-air roof garden will top the tower and offer choice views of the city.

With the upcoming Crossrail project in mind, which is due to be completed in 2018 and will operate at Paddington Station, developer Sellar Property Group says 31 London Street will ease local congestion. The development will include a significant public space that aims to improve connectivity in the area, and a new and enlarged Bakerloo line ticket hall will also be constructed.

"The current public realm in Paddington is poor, with congestion in and around the entrance to the Bakerloo line leading to frequent closures," says Renzo Piano. "This scheme looks to remedy those issues, while creating a wonderful sense of place which Paddington greatly needs."

Sellar Property Group is working in partnership with Great Western Developments, a subsidiary of Singapore's Hotel Properties Limited. Planning permission will be submitted before the close of the year and should the thumbs up be given, construction is slated to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2020.

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