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22 Bishopsgate

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22 Bishopsgate

The Pinnacle
Artist's impression of the original approved design of The Pinnacle
General information
Status On hold
Location London, United Kingdom
Construction started September 2008
Estimated completion Unknown
Roof 288 m (945 ft) (original approved design)
Technical details
Floor count 64 (original approved design)
Floor area 148,749 m2 (1,601,120 sq ft) (original approved design)
Design and construction
Architect Kohn Pedersen Fox
Structural engineer Arup
Main contractor Wafra Investment (National Bank of Kuwait)

The Pinnacle (formerly the Bishopsgate Tower) is a skyscraper in London whose construction began in 2008 but is currently on hold subject to approval of a re-design.[1] Work started on the site at 22-24 Bishopsgate, in the City of London financial district, in September 2008 but has stalled since March 2012 with only the concrete core of the first seven storeys built.

At a planned height of 288 m (945 ft), The Pinnacle was expected to become the tallest building in the City of London and the second-tallest in both the United Kingdom and the European Union, after The Shard, also in London.

The Economic Development Corporation of Saudi Arabia and its development manager Arab Investments is part-funding the construction in return for a 90% stake in the structure.[2] However, the project was put on hold due to a lack of additional funding and letting commitments, leaving the future of The Pinnacle as the City's tallest skyscraper in doubt. In December 2013 it was reported that a review of the design and construction process undertaken by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, agents CBRE and the developers, had been completed, with the building's original exterior "helter skelter" design set to be retained[3] but with changes to be made to floor plans and the interior, including more space for commercial offices and a larger atrium.


  • Planning and design 1
  • Demolition of previous building 2
  • Construction 3
    • Gallery 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Planning and design

The architects of The Pinnacle are Kohn Pedersen Fox and the developer is the fund management company Union Investment Real Estate AG. The tower was originally proposed at 307 metres (1,007 ft), but scaled down to 288 metres (945 ft) following concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority.[4] This scaled-down design would have provided 88,000 square metres (947,200 sq ft) of office space and made it the second-tallest building in the UK and the EU, after The Shard.

The Bishopsgate Tower, as it was initially called, was submitted for planning permission in June 2005 and approved in April 2006.[5]

The twisting design of its roof and the curling patterns in the façade were based on various organic forms in nature such as armadillos, mushrooms and seashells, and led to the building being nicknamed The Helter Skelter.[6] The upper floors were planned to contain restaurants and the second-largest public viewing deck in the UK, behind the Shard's.

The Pinnacle's original design also provided more solar panelling than any other building in the country, with 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft) of photovoltaic cells, generating up to 200 kW of electricity. It would have also had a double-layered skin like the nearby gherkin-shaped 30 St Mary Axe, allowing it to respond dynamically to climatic changes and to utilise effective climate control with low energy consumption. To keep construction costs down, every panel on the tower would be of exactly the same size.

In August 2006, Keltbray began test piling on site. Demolition began on the smaller of the two existing buildings in November 2006. In February 2007, it was confirmed that the Bishopsgate Tower had been purchased by Arab Investments and that the structure would be renamed as The Pinnacle.

In May 2007, it was announced that full funding had been secured and that The Pinnacle was likely to be built speculatively.[7] In June 2007, demolition began on Crosby Court, the larger of the two existing buildings on the site.

In August 2007, Arab Investments signed a pre-construction contract with Multiplex to build the tower.[8]

Demolition of previous building

One of the two previous buildings on the site, pictured shortly after opening in 1986. No. 38 Bishopsgate, at the junction with Threadneedle Street, was once the headquarters of Standard Chartered.

Demolition of the existing site began in mid-2007. It was scheduled to be completed by February 2008. However, this was delayed to April 2008 because of an injunction won in December 2007 by Hiscox, an insurance company based next-door in Great St. Helen's. The company complained about noise pollution from the work. The injunction, obtained by Hiscox Syndicates & Another against The Pinnacle Ltd & Others in January 2008, afforded protection on three points:

  1. protection of the right of access to the car park entrance from Crosby Square;
  2. protection from water ingress;
  3. protection from vibration by way of set PPV (peak particle velocity) limits at certain times during the working day.

The injunction was successfully varied at a hearing in June 2008. An application to vary the terms of the injunction in connection with access was granted and a new Order made by the Technology and Construction Court.

Alternative access across the site ensured that access to the car park entrance was maintained whilst demolition above and adjacent to the highway continued.

Demolition was completed by June 2008.


The Pinnacle would dominate the City of London skyline if its original exterior design goes ahead.

In late May 2008, a mobile crane and piling rig were on site preparing for construction. It was reported on 1 September 2008 that law firm Davies Arnold Cooper was to take up 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) of office space and subsequently that the restaurant which was to be at the top of the tower was fully let. The tower was well under construction, with steel rebar cages already inserted into the ground, which formed part of the piles that would hold the weight of the tower. In November 2008 another piling rig came into use on the site, as well as huge steel plates for the piles.

On 30 March 2009, the largest ever piles in the UK had been laid. (The previous record holder was Moor House with foundations 57 m deep, and these were only built to that depth in 2002 to allow Crossrail eventually to pass under it.) The piles were sunk 48.5 m below sea level, and 65.5 m below the site, surpassing Moor House's depth by 8.5 m.

In the summer of 2009, piling had been completed and workers began excavating deep down, ready to begin constructing the basements. The first blue crane base was put into place in October 2009.

In June 2011 Arab Investments announced that they had secured the near £500 million shortfall, meaning that construction work could resume, and on 19 December 2011, the core had reached the sixth floor. A £140 million loan was provided by HSH Nordbank, a lender based in Hamburg, Germany, which has been extended three times.[9]

In March 2012, due to problems regarding the pre-let, the project was halted until at least early 2013.[10] In December 2012 a settlement offered by Arab Investments to contractors Brookfield Multiplex paved the way for construction to resume "potentially very soon".[11] However, in February 2013 it was reported that the part-built skyscraper could be demolished and rebuilt from scratch under a less expensive scheme. The following month it was understood that several architects had submitted bids to re-design The Pinnacle, including Ken Shuttleworth, the co-designer of 30 St Mary Axe.[12]

In April 2013, it was suggested that The Pinnacle would not restart construction under current designs.[13] However, by December 2013, after an extensive design review, alterations to the interior floor plans were made but the exterior was retained with no significant changes. It is understood that the new design could require further planning permission, though it is yet to be sought.[14]


See also


  1. ^ a b "The Pinnacle Facts : CTBUH Skyscraper Database".  
  2. ^ Norman, Paul (2012-02-03). "Pinnacle equity stake sale expected next week". CoStar UK. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  3. ^ "Pinnacle tower to keep ‘helter skelter’ design after review". Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Skyscraper News (2005-11-28). "Bishopsgate Tower Cut Down To Size". Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  5. ^ "Backers in talks to save stalled City skyscraper".  
  6. ^ Corporation of London (2008-12-04). "Roof concept image" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  7. ^ Union Investment Real Estate (2007-05-30). "Union Investment Real Estate completes sale of The Pinnacle to Arab Investments" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-05-31. 
  8. ^ Construction News (2007-08-30). "Multiplex wins £500m tower". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  9. ^ The Sunday Times, business section, page 3, 29 July 2012
  10. ^ Davey, Ed (2012-11-19). "London's future skyline in doubt". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  11. ^ Withers, Iain (2012-12-07). "Pinnacle offers to settle Brookfield legal claim". Building. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  12. ^ Booth, Robert (2013-03-11). "Gherkin architect aims higher with City of London's tallest tower". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  13. ^ "Bye bye Helter Skelter - Pinnacle to be redesigned". Architects Journal. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  14. ^ Withnall, Adam (12 December 2013). "London to reach Pinnacle as ‘impossible’ skyscraper plans get green light". The Independent. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 

External links

  • Planning application
  • Bishopsgate Tower promotional video (23mb)
  • Emporis building detail
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