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Heron Tower briefly became the tallest building in London, UK, when it reached its highest top out of 202m in April 2010. Located at 110 Bishopsgate, Heron Tower became a new landmark and enhanced the London city skyline. Located at the junction of Camomile Street and Bishopsgate, the office tower offers panoramic views of the city and is conveniently situated about 200m away from Liverpool Street Station.

The 46-storey, 230m-high tower was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) and was developed by Heron International. Construction work on the site began in April 2008 and completed in March 2011. The development offers a flexible 40,836m2 of commercial office space to house 4,300 staff, and a public restaurant and skybar on floors 38 to 40.

Heron Tower was designed in 1999 but was not approved due to concerns that it would obstruct the views of St Paul’s Cathedral. A revised design received approval from the City of London Corporation in January 2006.

Heron Tower design

Heron Tower was topped by a 28m communications mast. The high-rise tower has a triple-height entrance hall featuring a 70,000l aquarium. The aquarium is 12m long, 2m wide, 4m high and 230mm thick. The building provides office space set out as ten three-storey villages and one six-storey village. Each village operates as an individual, self-contained unit.

"Heron Tower became the tallest building in the London in April 2010."

The richly textured northern elevation of the tower reveals the "villages" and the stacked atria. The south side of the tower houses the lift core, allowing movement of the ten double-decker glazed lift cars.

The east and west sides of the tower feature a transparent ventilated façade forming an energy-efficient enclosure of photovoltaic cells.

The restaurant and sky bar on floors 38 to 40, at a height of 175m, can be reached by two high-speed scenic lifts accessed via a dedicated entrance on Bishopsgate. The restaurant and sky bar feature floor-to-ceiling glazing and an external roof terrace, offering excellent views across London. The base of the tower was redeveloped with significant green public space and access improvements, and a new pedestrian piazza in Houndsditch Street.

Structure of Heron Tower

Heron Tower’s total structural steel piece count was 8,500 with a tonnage of 11,000t. The three basement levels of the tower were built using the top-down technique. The tower’s foundation was laid using 249, 900mm-diameter secant piles and 15 large-diameter piles. The mast of the tower was also made of stainless steel. VM Zinc Plus standing seam system was used on the main roof areas of the tower.

Environmental impact

Heron Tower features several environment friendly aspects, including photovoltaic (PV) cells for electricity generation. The triple-skin glazed façade and the PV veil also acts as a solar shield and reduce heat absorption. The three-storey atria, double-deck elevators and staircases on the perimeter wall will use natural daylight.

"Heron Tower features several environment friendly aspects, including photovoltaic (PV) cells for electricity generation."

Levels 41 to 46 house air handling plant rooms for heat recovery. The tower also has an ice storage facility and adiabatic cooling to reduce energy consumption. In January 2010, the building received an Excellent BREEAM rating.

Contractors involved with Heron Tower

Heron Tower Property Unit Trust, an investment vehicle of Heron International, awarded a £242m ($483.01m) contract to Skanska to build Heron Tower in 2007. Mace provided the project management and contract administration services for the project. Arup was the engineering consultant and Foreman Roberts the services engineer. Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE Richard Ellis were the real estate consultants.

Subcontractors of Skanska included CMF for the architectural metalwork, MLM Environmental for asbestos testing, Scheldebouw for cladding, Keltbray for demolition, Astec for internal glazing and Schindler Elevators for lifts. Reynolds Polymer Technology supplied the aquarium.