Eric Parry Architects discuss 50 Fenchurch Street


(Source: Eric Parry Architects)

A 150m tall greenery-clad tower is set to be the newest addition to the Eastern Cluster of City skyscrapers. Eric Parry Architects’ latest scheme, 50 Fenchurch Street, recently received consent from the City of London’s planning committee. Construction plans are temporarily on hold due to the current pandemic, but are expected to resume once it’s safe to do so. The 36-storey scheme is set to include a new office building, a replacement livery hall for The Clothworkers Company (the main client), publicly accessible gardens on the 10th and 11th floors and an important public realm framed around a restored Grade I listed church tower.

As part of the City Architecture Forum’s 2020 Spring Lecture Series, Eric, in his capacity as a guest speaker, discussed his latest project. Andrew Reynolds, Chairman of the City Architecture Forum, chaired the webinar. These were my 5 key takeaways:

1. 36 times more public realm space. The public realm created through the 50 Fenchurch Street complex and the neighbouring garden at One Fen Court (also designed by Eric Parry Architects) will altogether provide 36 times more space than what’s currently available in the City.

2. Inspiration for the building’s green vertical landscaping stemmed through successful projects in Singapore and Milan. The practice’s Singapore office have witnessed just how successful landscaping has worked there, and Eric’s eyes have also been firmly planted on the ‘successful greening of cities’ like Milan. From an urban design perspective, Eric believes there is now an opportunity to act whereby these collective green spaces become greater than some parks.

3. Preserving the heritage of important historic sites was imperative to receiving planning approval. The scheme had to be framed around the Grade I listed church tower of All Hallows Staining and the Grade II listed Lambe’s Chapel Crypt that sits at the base of the commercial building.

Proposed view of the public realm from Mark Lane.
Proposed view of the public realm from Mark Lane. The commercial building clearly frames the church tower of All Hallows Staining. (Source: Eric Parry Architects)

4. Visitors will be greeted by a double-height, south-facing winter garden on the 10th and 11th floors. Beyond that, there will be an open public roof garden, double-height like the winter one, that will circle around the entire building. The landscaping of the gardens and the public realm at the base are designed by Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape and will be open to the public all year round. 

5. Eric fears the Eastern Cluster may be starting to look too homogeneous. Amidst the uniform display of steel and glass structures, the ‘strong presence of green’ achieved by 50 Fenchurch Street will look to stand out, almost taking on a formal quality like topiary. It’s all part of the ‘restorative power of nature’, as Eric sees it, that’s evident in making the commuter journey less stressful. As the cluster gains maturity with every bit of the jigsaw added to the intricate puzzle, the effect of tall buildings on the public realm and comfort become important discussion points. Despite the scheme being the subject of contentious debate, it’s shaping up to create quite a positive impact on the surrounding area.

You may also be interested in ‘How sustainable are green buildings?’  where I discuss my thoughts on landscaping projects in Singapore and Milan.

Key figures

• Total height: 150m (492ft).
• Floors: West side (36), East side (33).
• Floor plates: Levels 1-9 (30,000 sq ft), Levels 10-36 (25,000 sq ft).
• 3,400 sq m of new public space.
• 78,000 sq m of office accommodation space.
• Level 32 roof terrace exclusively reserved for office workers.


1. e-architect: 50 Fenchurch Street in the City of London, England.
2. Homes & Property: London “hanging gardens” skyscraper approved: new City tower gets green light at virtual planning meeting despite protests.

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