Rising over 1,000 feet in the air, 1 Undershaft will one day be London’s tallest skyscraper. The project will take its place among the Shard, the Cheesegrater, and the Gherkin as buildings that have utterly transformed the city’s skyline in recent years—to mixed reviews.
Eric Parry Architects, a London-based architecture firm, debuted plans Tuesday for 1 Undershaft in the City, London’s financial district. The building will take up residence between Norman Foster’s Gherkin and Richard Rogers’s Cheesegrater. But while it will stand head over shoulders above those towers, it’s considerably less flashy. In fact, 1 Undershaft is one understated property.
Olly Wainwright, who spoke with Parry about the tower, writes in The Guardian that the architect took a deliberately non-confrontational approach with this project. Parry describes the design as “calm,” something it accomplishes in part through horizontal white louvres running up the side of the building. From street level, the tower will appear to be white.
At the top of the tower, color-changing paint will make the upper levels appear rainbow colored, while the cross bracing that ties the building together in diagonals will be red. “Our tower aims to combine the autumnal beauty of rust red with the bright white of spring,” Parry told The Guardian.
Parry’s design for 1 Undershaft may be just what London needs. Another archimorphic building (such as the Can of Ham) might turn the city into a cartoon. Imagine the next building in the City of London to follow in the way of the Gherkin or the Cheesegrater—perhaps a Peppergrinder, or a Sprig of Rosemary, or maybe a Slotted Spoon to complete the Square-Mile Pantry. This project, by contrast, looks like a luminescent stick of butter.