Office would replace four buildings opposite Britain’s oldest synagogue

KPF has submitted plans for an angular 16-storey tower in the heart of the City of London.

The scheme, for Fairplay Estates, would replace four buildings on Bevis Marks with one 36,400sq m office and retail complex.

The site is opposite Britain’s oldest synagogue, which was built in 1701 and is now grade I listed.

KPF described it as standing in the “foothills” of the City cluster and said the scheme was “an elegant, considerate new form in the fabric and skyline” which related to both the towers to the west and the lower buildings to the east.

It reads as an orthogonal tower whose roof is sliced off at various angles to protect views for surrounding buildings and whose corners give way to open terraces.

The architect said in its design and access statement: “The project contributes to the fabric of the City of London by setting the right scale and shape in the surrounding urban context that is evolving and being reconfigured…

“The design should have an identity amongst the taller distinctive ‘object shaped’ buildings in the vicinity, such as the Gherkin, Cheesegrater, Scalpel and Can of Ham.”

The Gherkin is just a block away and Foggo Associates’ delayed Can of Ham would be right opposite.

The massing was “conceived as a stack of related objects”, added KPF. The angle of brick-coloured architectural fins flips with each stack is intended to vary the texture.

The buildings it will replace are about five storeys, including Bevis Marks House which was largely rebuilt in the 1980s but retained the imposing domed corner of its 1920s predecessor.