LONDON-Rafael Vinoly is to design a new skyscraper in the City of London for Land Securities. The Uruguayan-born architect narrowly missed out on the Ground Zero project in New York. Now he is to draw up the plans for a new tower at 20 Fenchurch St., currently the headquarters of investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.
The project will be the first London scheme for the architect, who is best known for his New York skyscrapers. Vinoly had been tipped to win the contest for the Ground Zero project after making the final shortlist of two in 2003. The government-appointed jury selected him, but the governor of New York overruled the decision in favor of Studio Libeskind.
This is not the first time Land Securities has picked a big name architect. Last year, the developer selected French architect Jean Nouvel to design the 900,000-sf One New Change opposite St Paul’s. And Richard Rogers Partnership is designing a 250,000-sf residential scheme at Bankside, SE1.
“We liked Vinoly’s approach and initial ideas. He is an exciting architect, so has been asked to look into scale and massing,” says Mike Hussey, managing director of LandSec’s central London portfolio.
Although a groundscraper has not been ruled out, Hussey says: “I would have thought he would lean towards a tower as we have a prominent tower here already. And not everyone is capable of doing high-rise buildings.”
The current 24-story building is expected to be demolished to make way for 400,000 sf to 500,000 sf of space, which will be mainly offices with some shops. Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein will be moving to 30 Gresham St., EC2.