A Building Called "Gotham City" Is Under Construction In London

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By M@ Last edited 26 months ago
A Building Called "Gotham City" Is Under Construction In London
A fairly unremarkable skyscraper office block. It's tricky to describe. Looks a bit like a Playstation 4.

London's skyscrapers go by some odd nicknames — Cheesegrater, Gherkin, Walkie Talkie — but the latest may be the battiest.

There's another new office block going up in the City. 40 Leadenhall Street, designed by Make Architects, manages to be both bulky and tall, taking up a whole block and rising some 155 metres into the choky London skies. If you take the inverse of 'dainty', this is what you get.

It's perhaps slipped under most people's radars, given that it lacks an easily lampooned shape and is a relative minnow in height (70 metres shorter than the nearby Cheesegrater, for example).

And yet, this being the City of London, it has still attracted a nickname. Even before planning permission was approved way back in 2014, the development had acquired the moniker of "Gotham City", in homage to the densely built hometown of Batman. We'd have called it the 'PS4' ourselves, but there you go.

A building core reflected in a puddle. It has a yellow top, with a red crane beside.
The tallest core of Gotham City. We've pictured it in a puddle, upside-down like a bat. We don't just throw this stuff together from press releases, you know.

Despite the boom in home-working, the developers have pressed ahead with the project, confident that office space will be in high demand again by the time it completes in 2023. Anchor tenants will include US law firm Kirkland & Ellis. We trust their staff will forever refer to the basement levels as the Batcave.

A large building under construction, with floor plates exposed.
The lower floorplates under construction.

The mighty building is already imposing itself on the skyline. Once complete, its bulk will block one of the two remaining views of the Gherkin from the river. The Gherkin was once the City's second tallest building — visible from most points on the central Thames — but has since been crowded out of the skyline by taller structures.

Other London Batman connections

Although Batman rarely leaves Gotham City, he does have several connections with our own fair city. Most notably, his butler Alfred is usually portrayed as a former Londoner (especially when Michael Caine took the part in the Christopher Nolan trilogy). His statue can be found in Leicester Square. White City harbours a Batman Close (though it may be of different etymology). Plus, in 2017, Lego Batman and Robin enjoyed a brief holiday in London, and almost got eaten by pigeons.

Lego Batman (seen from behind) is in Trafalgar Square, and utterly overshadowed by pigeons

And then, most remarkably, Lego Batman also came out as a closet road campaigner — at least according to this anonymous bit of street art in the Leake Street tunnel.

A Lego batman street art holds a placard condemning the crossing fee on the Dartford Bridge. Yes, really.

Last Updated 23 February 2022