51 Lime Street, London, UK
Client: The British Land Co / Stanhope Plc / St Martins Property Group
Building Type: Office
Date of completion: April 2008
Total Area: 539,347 sq. ft. (50,107 sq.m)
Total Height / Floors: 409 ft. (125 m) / 28
Architect: Foster + Partners
Structural Engineer: Ramboll Whitbybird
MEP Engineer: Roger Preston and Partners
Contractor: Mace Ltd.
|51 Lime Street, also called the Willis Building (after its primary tenant), sits in the heart of the City of London. It lies to the east of Richard Rogers’ 1986 Lloyds Building and responds to this unique location with an elegant concave form. The project is significant in both urban and environmental terms—51 Lime Street is among a number of projects in the City of London that have struck a delicate balance between commercial requirements, the need for flexibility, and respect for the area’s world-famous architectural heritage. The original building for Willis Faber Dumas by Foster + Partners in 1976 was a seminal project for the practice, an open office building characterized by its sense of community —this spirit has been kept alive in the new UK headquarters in London, with expansive roof terraces that offer broad views over the city (see Looking down at the rooftop terrace image on page 67).|
The development comprises two separate buildings which step down to a new public plaza (see Ground floor plan on page 69). The 10-story building at 1 Fenchurch Street responds to the smaller scale of Billiter Street and Fenchurch Avenue, while the 29-story Willis headquarters building rises to the west of the site. The smaller building’s concave façade encircles the plaza and its curved corners maintain important view corridors, and also restore a pedestrian route through the site, reinforcing the medieval street pattern. The landscaping also features sculpture reclaimed from the previous building, linear benches and a living wall to replace the existing ‘party wall’ between the Willis Building and its neighbors, improving the view from the building and encouraging biodiversity (see Ground level plaza image on page 66). With a fringe of cafes, restaurants, shops and bars at the tower’s base, 51 Lime Street extends the vibrancy of the nearby Leadenhall Market, a particularly lively shopping area in the City with a strong architectural character.
For more information on 51 Lime Street please visit the building website.