The City of London's idiosyncratic skyline could get another distinctive tower, according to an intriguing article in Architects' Journal. The proposal, by Avery Associates, would see a 270 metre building — taller than anything currently existing in the Square Mile — on the site of the St Helen's tower.
The tower follows the sloping profile of the neighbouring Cheesegrater building*, leaning back so as not to block sightlines to St Paul's. The opposite face would slope to the same gradient, creating a structure whose upper floors would look something like a Janus Cheesegrater.
Various images of the tower can be found on the original article, and are reproduced on a forum thread on Skyscrapercity.com. At this stage, the tower remains a vision, with no funding or planning permission, but it is prompting plenty of discussion.
The Cheesegrater-aping profile is being heralded as a "contextual tower", fitting in with its lofty neighbours rather than attempting to out-flourish them. There's a problem with this, though. The tower could not be completed for many years, by which time the skyline might already look very different (the under-preparation Scalpel building, for example, would largely block the view shown above). Can a building be contextual with its surroundings when those surroundings are ever changing?
*Which, incidentally, is now in the A-Z as "The Cheesegrater", conferring some kind of authority on the nickname of 122 Leadenhall.