SEW, after a high profile competition, won the opportunity to reconsider the Tower 42 estate in Central London. Massive change in the immediate vicinity of the Tower 42 estate is leading to a “new generation” of city experiences focused on Bishopsgate. The lower levels of the Tower 42 estate now need to “step up” to respond to this new environment. To successfully compete with the offer of “the new” we need to generate flexible and efficient space with a strong identity that builds on the “Tower 42” brand. Not just more space but more, desirable, “Tower 42” space.

Everything that we have designed stems from the tower, giving a holistic identity to the entire estate. Mimicking nature’s way of seeking to accomplish the most with the least we have applied a “packing and cracking” concept to the entire Tower 42 estate leading to a honeycomb form relevant to the geometry of the existing tower.

Each leaf of the existing tower is half a hexagon. Taking this as a starting point we have developed a geometric form that allows the tower to quite literally grow into the site, transforming it from object building to a more organic piece of the City that appears to have grown informally over time.

Instead we propose that the existing and new floorplates “grow” into each other using both hexagonal and octagonal forms. Thus continuing both the horizontal and vertical architectural vocabulary of the tower to the very edge of the site and creating a situation where the tower is no longer isolated in the centre of the site but stretches out with every face of the new accommodation having equal importance. Everything starts from inside out. There will be no “back”.