The building’s form defers to its neighbours - Westminster Cathedral and Westminster City Hall - in terms of scale and geometry, making the latter belatedly appear as a grand ‘civic’ tower in dialogue with the cathedral. The ground, basement and 1st floors comprise restaurants, bars, and shops, and a double height office lobby. Ground level is adorned with hand-worked in-situ concrete columns and a remarkably fine double height white in-situ concrete column defines the entrance lobby. The filigrant, anodised aluminium south facade protects occupiers from solar gain, and smoke vents open to provide ventilation. Vertical solar fins recede as the building rises, decreasing in depth as they become closer together; minimising material usage in a precise response to the parameters of passive solar shading. A hanging, laminated glass screen, with a screen-printed onyx interlayer, protects the south and west facades against heat and glare from low, warm, spring and autumn sunlight. Additionally, the concrete soffits have capillary cooling pipes embedded within them. Most floors benefit from planted roof terraces.
The challenges involved building a deep basement beside the District and Circle line (separated by less than a metre from the site), and to build beside Westminster City Hall and the planning department; to create world-class office space on a very busy thoroughfare on a site forming the setting of the Westminster Cathedral Conservation Area.
The building was almost fully pre-let by the time of Practical Completion. It sets new ecological and economic standards for speculative office design: bringing a new civic, sustainable aesthetic to central London.