1 Undershaft to join the high-life in City of London skyscraper cluster

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1 Undershaft will span 73 stories and will top-out at 309.6 m (1,016 ft)(Credit: Eric Parry Architects)

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A new building is planned to join the cluster of famous skyscrapers in London's financial district, which is known as the City. 1 Undershaft will be the tallest building in the district, and the second-tallest in the UK. It will also house the UK's highest public viewing gallery and London's highest public restaurant.

1 Undershaft was designed by architect Eric Parry on behalf of Singapore-based developer Aroland Holdings. Assuming it comes to fruition, it will be surrounded by the likes of 20 Fenchurch Street, the Leadenhall Building and 22 Bishopsgate. The only building that will reach higher than it in the UK, the Shard, will be just across the River Thames.

The 73-story building will be 294.6 m (967 ft) tall. There will be a new public square at the base of 1 Undershaft and an elevated reception area that will allow people to walk underneath the building. This space is designed in part to link the St. Andrew Undershaft and St. Helen's Bishopsgate churches, which are two of London's oldest places of worship.

The public viewing gallery will be served by dedicated lifts, and will have an accompanying Education Centre with two classrooms for visits by school groups. Elsewhere, the building will have 1,800 sq m (19,375 sq ft) of basement-level retail space, which will house restaurants, cafes, and shops.

Once complete, the building will accommodate 10,000 people. There will be space for storing 1,500 bikes, as well as shower and changing facilities to encourage active commuting. Deliveries to the building will be made outside of peak hours via an off-site consolidation center so as to minimize traffic.

Parry says the building will set new standards for the City in terms of comfort, quality, environmental sustainability; that it will serve both the companies who take up residence in it and the public; and that it will be used seven days a week due to its viewing gallery, restaurant and public square.

"It will be a building where the public are put first with a new public square at its base and the capital's tallest free public viewing gallery at its top," he says in a press release. "1 Undershaft will create more of the quality office space that is desperately needed in the capital and will reconnect the city's tall building cluster with the public."

Public consultation days this month will be followed by the submission of a planning application in the new year.

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