At the City of London’s tallest tower, 22 Bishopsgate, architects PLP haven’t just created an innovative place to work but have also been mindful of this office building’s occupants’ health and wellbeing, as well as showing respect for the public realm.
by Helen Parton
PLP Architecture’s work at 22 Bishopsgate has created a new benchmark for workplace design. The 620-storey project for AXA IM – Real Assets and Lipton Rogers Developments, the tallest tower in the heart of London’s Square Mile financial district not only takes account of traditional and new ways of working, including a strong emphasis on wellbeing but also paying its dues to the public realm too.
22 Bishopsgate lies in the heart of London’s financial district and takes a modern approach to office design with good access to daylight and ample planting © PLP
Inside there are higher ceilings, increased daylight control and better fresh air and amenities than skyscrapers of old. The building is intended to function as a ‘vertical village’. The building’s bike storage has nearly 1700 spaces plus showers, lockers and repair facilities to encourage people to migrate to two wheels. To ensure healthy eating in an attractive environment, The Market on Level 2 has plenty of fresh food, provision as well as an external terrace and events space.
Europe’s highest gym can be found on level 25 of the building. Whether it’s Crossfit, state of the art boxing facilities, HIIT group classes or personal training, this space has everything to maintain one’s physical fitness. For a calmer approach to wellbeing, the Retreat on level 41 offers Pilates, yoga and relaxation sessions.
As people’s post-pandemic working needs have changed, the office is the place where collaboration is king while quieter, concentrated work can be done during working from home days. To this end, there are a variety of places to meet at 22 Bishopsgate. On the 57th floor, The Club allows for occupiers large and small to host clients in a variety of spaces. The Exchange, meanwhile, is a double height space on level 7 that offers space for start ups at reduced rents plus coworking space, meeting rooms and networking facilities.
Woods Bagot’s design for Convene hints at traditional City livery companies with references to materials such as stained glass and ironmongery © Jack Hobhouse
Another prime example of workplace innovation can be found on levels three and four where New York-headquartered meeting, event and workplace provider Convene has responded to office workers’ need to be away from their desks in order to build relationships and brainstorm. Within the 50,000 sq.ft set up, designed by architecture and interiors practice Woods Bagot, there are main meeting and event spaces for hire. There is also the option to use private members club-style facilities with open plan workspace, private dining as well as state-of-the-art conference rooms. The design takes influences from the tradition of the City of London’s livery companies: trade associations dedicated to professions such as ironmongery, plumbing or insurance. In this way Convene is a modern day place for people to do their best work.
22 Bishopsgate incorporates art and craft features such as an entrance canopy artwork by British artist Alexander Beleschenko © PLP
In terms of respecting its neighbours, the building is shaped to respect views around it. Its twenty three-sided, faceted glass form provides a strong yet serene backdrop to its neighbours which include the ‘Cheesegrater’ at 122 Leadenhall Street by Rogers, Stirk Harbour + Partners and 30 St Mary Axe by Foster + Partners. Public-facing art and craft has been incorporated into 22 Bishopsgate’s architecture from the north entrance canopy artwork by Alexander Beleschenko to Bill Amberg’s leather hand-crafted reception library to sculptural works by French furniture artist Pierre Renart.
22 Bishopsgate has a twenty three-sided, faceted glass form which sits seamlessly alongside its skyscraper neighbours © PLP
Tech is in place too with elements like opt-in facial recognition and QR entry codes but really 22 Bishopsgate’s strength is its focus on people’s needs whether individual or working collaboratively in a group.