Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
 

 Tower 42 Technical Tour
Conference Technical Tour
June 13, 2013
Daniel Safarik, CTBUH Editor and Tansri Muliani, CTBUH Publications Associate

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See the report on the 2013 London Conference

LONDON - The tallest building in the United Kingdom from the time of its completion in 1980 until 1991 and the first major skyscraper in the City of London, Tower 42 encapsulates the theme of the conference: “Height and Heritage.” It overcame many planning obstacles, including opposition to its unprecedented height, to get built.
Delegates learn about the building's history before the tour
Tower 42 also featured some new innovations at the time, such as double-decked elevators and sky lobbies, which had never been built in the UK before. Despite advanced fire-safety features such as pressurized stairwells, smoke venting and fire retardant floor barriers, the building did not originally have sprinklers. A fire during its 1996 renovation resulted in the introduction of a sprinkler requirement by the Greater London Council. This closely followed an IRA truck bombing in 1993 that required an external recladding, at a cost of GBP 75 million. Demolition was briefly considered, but dismissed as being too expensive an option.

After the refurbishment, NatWest chose to leave the building and sold it. It now is a multi-tenant building, and a two-level atrium entrance space has been added, improving the street presence and overall attractiveness of the building.
During the tour delegates got the chance to explore the roof of England's former tallest building
While it had a rough road coming up, Tower 42 has emerged from its awkward adolescence as legitimate London icon. An LED lighting system on floors 39 through 45 featured the Olympic Rings during the 2012 Games.

Delegates were shown through Tower 42 by Barry Rushmer, General Manager; Daniel Harris, Technical Services Manager; and Rob Coupar, Façade Access Director.
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