Karen Cook
Founding Partner
PLP Architecture, London

London's professional opportunities and varied cultural scene attract talented individuals, energized by the opportunity to participate in shaping its vibrant economy and character. During the last decade, the City of London has experienced a surge in daily commuters from less than 400,000 to nearly 500,000. City Hall anticipates another 100,000 by 2030. How can a tall building mitigate urban pressures? Technology has changed the way people live and work. Why work in a tower?

Twentytwo, the tallest building at the heart of London's financial district, when complete, will comprise a community of 12,000 individuals. It is a tall building designed to support the individual and contribute to public realm. A “vertical village” offers choice and convenience outside the tenant areas to restore the mind, body and spirit; to meet other people; to learn and exchange ideas. It holds London's largest bike park, its highest restaurants and free-to-access public viewing gallery. An “incubator hub” offers reduced rents to qualifying start-ups. A closed-cavity façade, combined with clear floor heights greater than the BCO standard yields, increase daylight transmission, improving comfort and cognition. A consolidated delivery-management strategy reduces vehicle trips to the building, and consequently air pollution, increasing safety and security. The aim is for a vehicle-free environment during peak pedestrian flow times.

In the tradition of City Guilds, commissioned artwork is incorporated into the base of the building, enriching the public realm. Wind-mitigation devices for pedestrian comfort, designed in collaboration with Formula 1 engineers, include a cornice of ultra-high strength, fiber-reinforced concrete applied structurally and aesthetically, separating the glass tower from the main foyer, which is conceived as an art gallery with changing exhibits.