The Pinnacle (London)
Artist's impression of the original approved design of The Pinnacle
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
|Construction started||September 2008|
|Roof||288 m (945 ft) (original approved design)|
|Floor count||64 (original approved design)|
|Floor area||148,749 m2 (1,601,120 sq ft) (original approved design)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Kohn Pedersen Fox|
|Main contractor||Wafra Investment (National Bank of Kuwait)|
The Pinnacle (formerly the Bishopsgate Tower) is a commercial skyscraper in London whose construction began in 2008 but has been on hold since 2012; the project is subject to approval of a re-design. Work started on the site at 22-24 Bishopsgate, in the City of London financial district, in September 2008, at the peak of the global financial crisis, but stalled in March 2012 with only the concrete core of the first seven storeys built.
At a planned height of 288 m (945 ft), The Pinnacle was due to become the tallest building in the City of London, and the second-tallest in both the United Kingdom and the European Union after the Shard, also in London.
The Economic Development Corporation of Saudi Arabia and its development manager, Arab Investments, were part-funding the construction in return for a majority stake in the structure. However, the project was put on hold due to a lack of additional funding and letting commitments, leaving the future of The Pinnacle as the City's tallest skyscraper in doubt. In December 2013 it was reported that a review of the design and construction process – undertaken by architects Kohn Pedersen Fox, agents CBRE and the developers – had been completed, with the building's original exterior "helter skelter" design set to be retained but with changes to be made to floor plans and the interior, including more space for commercial offices and a larger atrium. As of February 2015, a re-design with a simpler exterior, excluding the costly "helter skelter" shape, has apparently been mooted for the site by a consortium which is the new owner of the site.
Planning and design
The architects of The Pinnacle are Kohn Pedersen Fox and the developer is the fund management company Union Investment. The tower was originally proposed at 307 metres (1,007 ft), but was scaled down to 288 metres (945 ft) following concerns from the Civil Aviation Authority.[unreliable source?] This revised design would have provided 88,000 square metres (947,200 sq ft) of office space and made it the second-tallest building in the UK and the EU, after the Shard.
The twisting design of its roof and the curling patterns in the façade were based on various organic forms in nature such as armadillos, mushrooms and seashells, and led to the building being nicknamed The Helter Skelter. The upper floors were planned to contain restaurants and the second-largest public viewing deck in the UK, behind the Shard's.
The tower's original design also provided more solar panelling than any other building in the country, with 2,000 square metres (21,500 sq ft) of photovoltaic cells, generating up to 200 kW of electricity. It would have also had a double-layered skin like the nearby gherkin-shaped 30 St Mary Axe, allowing it to respond dynamically to climatic changes and to utilise effective climate control with low energy consumption. To keep construction costs down, every panel on the tower would be of exactly the same size.
In August 2006 Keltbray began test-piling on site. Demolition began on the smaller of the two existing buildings in November 2006. In February 2007 it was confirmed that the Bishopsgate Tower had been purchased by Arab Investments, and that the structure would be renamed as The Pinnacle.
In May 2007 it was announced that full funding had been secured and that The Pinnacle was likely to be built speculatively. In June 2007 demolition began on Crosby Court, the larger of the two existing buildings on the site in Bishopsgate.
Demolition of previous buildings
Demolition of the existing site began in mid-2007. It was scheduled to be completed by February 2008, however, this was delayed to April 2008 because of an injunction won in December 2007 by Hiscox, an insurance company based in neighbouring Great St. Helen's. The company complained about noise pollution from the work. The injunction obtained by Hiscox Syndicates & Another against The Pinnacle Ltd & Others in January 2008 afforded protection on three points:
- protection of the right of access to the car park entrance from Crosby Square;
- protection from water ingress;
- protection from vibration by way of set PPV (peak particle velocity) limits at certain times during the working day.
The injunction was successfully varied at a hearing in June 2008. An application to vary the terms of the injunction in connection with access was granted and a new Order made by the Technology and Construction Court.
Alternative access across the site ensured that access to the car park entrance was maintained whilst demolition above and adjacent to the highway continued.
Demolition was completed by June 2008.
In late May 2008, a mobile crane and piling rig were on site preparing for construction. It was reported on 1 September 2008 that law firm Davies Arnold Cooper was to take up 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) of office space, and subsequently that the restaurant which was to be at the top of the tower was fully let. The tower was well under construction, with steel rebar cages already inserted into the ground, which formed part of the piles that would hold the weight of the tower. In November 2008 another piling rig came into use on the site, as well as huge steel plates for the piles.
On 30 March 2009 the largest-ever piles in the UK had been laid. (The previous record holder was Moor House with foundations 57 m deep, and these were only built to that depth in 2002 to allow Crossrail eventually to pass under it.) The piles were sunk 48.5 m below sea level, and 65.5 m below the site (surpassing Moor House's depth by 8.5 m).
In the summer of 2009 piling had been completed and workers began excavating deep down, ready to begin constructing the basements. The first crane base was put into place in October 2009.
In June 2011 Arab Investments announced that they had secured the near £500 million shortfall in the project, meaning that construction work could resume, and on 19 December 2011 the core had reached the sixth floor. A £140 million loan was provided by HSH Nordbank, a lender based in Hamburg, which has since been extended three times.
In March 2012 the project was halted until at least early 2013, due to problems regarding the pre-let. In December 2012 a settlement offered by Arab Investments to contractors Brookfield Multiplex paved the way for construction to resume "potentially very soon". However, in February 2013 it was reported that the part-built skyscraper could be demolished and rebuilt from scratch based on a less expensive scheme. The following month it was understood that several architects had submitted bids to re-design The Pinnacle, including Ken Shuttleworth, the co-designer of 30 St Mary Axe.
In April 2013 it was suggested that The Pinnacle would not restart construction under current designs. However, by December 2013, after an extensive design review, alterations to the interior floor plans were made but the exterior was retained with no significant changes. 
In February 2015 the site was acquired by a consortium led by Axa Real Estate in a deal worth £300 million. It is understood that the building is currently being completely re-designed, with a new planning application expected to be submitted within a few months.
- "The Pinnacle Facts : CTBUH Skyscraper Database". CTBUH. Retrieved 26 February 2012.
- Norman, Paul (2012-02-03). "Pinnacle equity stake sale expected next week". CoStar UK. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "Pinnacle tower to keep ‘helter skelter’ design after review". building.co.uk. Retrieved 7 December 2013.
- Skyscraper News (2005-11-28). "Bishopsgate Tower Cut Down To Size". http://www.skyscrapernews.com. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- "Backers in talks to save stalled City skyscraper". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 19 January 2014.
- Corporation of London (2008-12-04). "Roof concept image" (PDF). http://www.planning.cityoflondon.gov.uk. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
- Union Investment Real Estate (2007-05-30). "Union Investment Real Estate completes sale of The Pinnacle to Arab Investments" (PDF). http://realestate.union-investment.com. Retrieved 2007-05-31.
- Construction News (2007-08-30). "Multiplex wins £500m tower". http://www.cnplus.co.uk/. Retrieved 2007-08-30.[dead link]
- The Sunday Times, business section, page 3, 29 July 2012
- Davey, Ed (2012-11-19). "London's future skyline in doubt". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Withers, Iain (2012-12-07). "Pinnacle offers to settle Brookfield legal claim". Building. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Booth, Robert (2013-03-11). "Gherkin architect aims higher with City of London's tallest tower". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- "Bye bye Helter Skelter - Pinnacle to be redesigned". Architects Journal. 2013-04-10. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
- Withnall, Adam (12 December 2013). "London to reach Pinnacle as ‘impossible’ skyscraper plans get green light". The Independent. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
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