Axa IM Alts’ plans for the 40-storey 63 St Mary Axe scheme given public airing

63 St Mary Axe 3

Early sketch of the proposals and a view of how it would look from the side

Multinational investor Axa IM Alts has unveiled its designs for a 40-storey tower at 63 St Mary Axe in the City of London.

The firm has hired Fletcher Priest to draw up plans for the latest addition to the growing cluster of skyscrapers near Bishopsgate, with DP9 acting as planning consultant and Kanda working on communications.

The tower would replace two 1980s buildings on an island site bordering Camomile Street, sitting between KPF’s 46 storey Heron Tower and Peter Foggo’s 21-storey 70 St Mary Axe, also known as the Can of Ham.

Axa’s intentions for the site, first revealed by Building last month, have now been given a public airing as part of an initial consultation round.

New images show a tower elevated on columns above a recessed podium block covered in extensive planting and surrounded by trees.

63 St Mary Axe 2

View of the proposed tower from Camomile Street

The planting would extend up the sides of the tower and across an upper half which slants diagonally on one side, culminating in three double height levels at its crown.

Axa said the lower levels will contain a publicly accessible ‘park’ with extensive landscaping and a new cultural and educational experience supporting the Square Mile’s plan to become ‘destination city’.

The podium would “welcome people from all directions into a vibrant, accessible and open base with flexible public and private uses maintaining activity and engagement”, the firm added.

It said the site’s existing buildings had “substandard sustainability credentials” which no longer meet the needs or expectations on modern workplace occupiers, with low ceiling heights and services which are reaching the end of their design life.

63 St Mary Axe 1

The building would have extensive greenery around its base

It also described the buildings as having a “dated” design with a street level frontage which is a “hostile place for pedestrians” due to its narrow pavements, blank frontages and sparse greenery.

“The proposals bring forward a scheme of exemplary architectural design, seeking to differentiate itself from typical architectural styles within the City,” Axa said.

“Through the building design we will also introduce nature and greenery to this area of the Square Mile, which is currently lacking.”

Fletcher Priest is also working on two other tower proposals in the cluster, the 24-storey 55 Old Broad Street for Landsec and the 32-storey 55 Gracechurch Street for Tenacity.

Axa IM Alts is a subsidiary of investment management firm Axa IM, which is itself a subsidiary of French multinational insurance firm Axa.

Another division, Axa IM Real Assets, developed PLP’s 22 Bishopsgate in partnership with Lipton Rogers.

63 St Mary Axe 4

The tower would contain a public park and a community space