The architect responsible for one of London’s most iconic modern buildings – the Gherkin (as it is known by Londoners) – has had a new controversial development plan approved – this time for a futuristic version of St Paul’s Cathedral.

According to a report yesterday in The Sunday Times, Lord Foster, of London-based Foster + Partners, plans to build a giant dome 10 foot short of St Paul’s, to replace London’s Bucklersbury House – the 1960-era office block that is headquarters for the Legal & General insurance company.

Foster teamed up with fellow iconic architect Jean Nouvel, the French modernist who designed the Institut du monde Arabe in Paris, for the design.

Costing £300m, the 21-storey Walbrook Square development, supported by City of London planners, has, however, riled some of London’s institutions, including St Paul’s itself and the City Heritage Sosiety.

Pressure from St Paul’s has already seen the design become more ‘compact and crystalline’ so as not to mimic the cathedral, and the society has branded the design ‘crude and oppressive’.

Solar panels will adorn the roof of the new building to provide 15% of the building’s power needs. According to The Sunday Times report, water will be collected from the roof to be used in toilets, offering a new environmentally friendly edge to the design.

Foster, who is busy finishing the world’s largest airport in Beijing, was not available to comment further on the design.

Reported by staff writer