Renzo Piano draws up designs for his next London skyscraper


Architect Renzo Piano has unveiled designs for another London skyscraper – a 224-metre cylindrical tower expected to do for Paddington "what The Shard did for London Bridge".

Three years after completing the 300-metre-high Shard tower at London Bridge station, the Italian architect has once again teamed up with developer Sellar Property Group to redevelop the former Royal Mail sorting office site at Paddington Station.

The 65-storey mixed-use tower at 31 London Street will accommodate 200 new homes, as well as offices, shops, restaurants and cafes, all set within 4,000 square metres of new public space.

Renzo Piano draws up designs for his next London skyscraper

"The creation of urban public realm has been at the forefront of our design," said Renzo Piano, who has also just revealed plans to convert a Moscow power station into a new arts venue.

According to the architect, the £1 billion development will improve connections between the railway station and the entrance to the Bakerloo tube line, reflecting the area's importance as a gateway into the city.

"The current public realm in Paddington is poor, with congestion in and around the entrance to the Bakerloo line leading to frequent closures," he said. "This scheme looks to remedy those issues, while creating a wonderful sense of place which Paddington greatly needs."

Unlike The Shard, which features a tapered form that references London's historic church spires, the tower at 31 London Street is envisioned as a cylindrical form. It will have restaurants on the 60th, 61st and 62nd storeys, and an open-air roof garden modelled on Kew Gardens.

Renzo Piano draws up designs for his next London skyscraper

"We believe this exciting proposal will tap into the potential of Paddington and will prove to be a major catalyst for the continuing enhancement of the area, in much the same way that The Shard did for London Bridge," said Sellar Property Group chairman Irvine Sellar.

"This site shares much of the same DNA with its proximity to a major transport hub with tube, railway lines and bus routes, a neighbouring leading teaching hospital and the potential to provide much needed quality public realm."

The building could become the fourth tallest in the capital, behind The Shard, One Canada Square and 110 Bishopgate.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Westminster council next month, with a completion date scheduled for 2020 – two years after the east-west Crossrail line will open at Paddington station.

Piano was reportedly also commissioned by Sellar Property Group to design a 27-storey residential tower next door to The Shard.

  • Hej!

    London is not New York.

  • Frirish

    Once he popped he couldn’t stop! Well done Renzo, you’ve sold your soul!

  • tom

    Looks a little better than The Shard, but that doesn’t say much. Never going to blend in to the surroundings as well as is shown.

  • Marcos Dornelles

    Could it be more phallic?

    • LONTYO

      Yes, it could. Why is anything cylindrical or slightly curved always reduced to just being “phallic”? Get a new perspective. If it looks crap, say why, don’t just always just resort to such a boring comment.

    • Fresh Haus

      I would get a kick out of a giant erect-phallus skyscraper. I think the architect who can pull that off is really doing the impossible.

  • Teodor Cuciureanu

    Good that he hasn’t come up with a smaller copy of The Shard…

  • Alvaro

    “What The Shard did for London Bridge”? Paddington is already buzzing and one of London’s best-known and central areas. All it needs is proper urban planning, and sensible projects, not new towers with unaffordable flats and expensive restaurants. It won’t help he local community, totally the opposite! Where next? Pimlico?

  • H T

    Stop this man.

  • JKLondon

    Oh dear, yet another one of Renzo’s massive erections.

  • Jamie Laws

    Stop with the sh*t buildings in London. I walk over Waterloo bridge most days and I can’t help but feel it’s a near completely disconnected skyline now. And throwing that up in Paddington will just make it worse.

  • Noname


  • Maaarcus

    What a fabulous idea to control populations in London; elevate the people into the smog zone where upon arrival you are immediately diagnosed with cancer. Also, isn’t Paddington one of the most popular areas in London?

  • ms

    Can you guys stop this already! You’re destroying one of my favourite cities!

  • ms

    Go design a handbag!

  • Bill

    Well at least there is a tree on top.

  • Frogfisher

    I really effing hope they are building this on top of the old sorting office…

  • Alan

    Thus has got to stop. The complete abdication of sensible zoning by City Hall is a national disgrace. The tower itself is perfectly fine, the location is frankly ridiculous.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Maybe it would look better if he removed the bubble wrap.

  • Guest

    Compared to Rafael Viñoly’s offering this is just wonderful, but his Shard is still the only spiritually uplifting piece of new architecture in London.

  • vincentius

    It makes sense that growth is vertical in a crowded city like London. Towers are coming to a backyard near you. European cities need to think of intelligent ways to integrate them. The alternative is to let the city become a living museum where everyone works in a souvenir shop.

    • flatpack

      Urban renewal and densification can also happen without building skyscrapers.

  • M.L.

    Why make renders at all, if you don’t plan to show the building?

  • BeggarBoy

    It just looks bad. You don’t need to think why, you just look and know it’s bad. I can’t find a single redeeming thing about it.

  • Thom Chesshyre

    They’re not homes, are they. They’re investment portfolios for the super-rich.

  • Brennan Murray

    Meh?! And what’s the weird emergency stairwell at the top?

  • Giuseppe D’Aulerio

    No Renzo, no!

  • Colonel Pancake

    At its absolute best, Dezeen is little more than a platform to troll the reactionary idiots whose critical lexicon contains only two terms: ‘phallic’ and ‘rich people.’

    At its absolute worst, Dezeen supposes these people actually matter.

  • SteveLeo

    I’m all for making penis jokes whenever possible, but is it really necessary to call every tall project on Dezeen phallic within the first five comments?

    • LONTYO

      Totally agree; bored of everyone resorting to this comment first like it’s worthy of response. Make constructive comments about why you do/don’t like it, that’s what Dezeen is for. Not just comments to get a few likes, it’s boring.

  • disqus_UWwV8oL6YV

    Enough with the skyscrapers, already. London is NOT New York. The streets were not designed for these. What makes London so wonderful is the scale of street to building; just the right height for the width of the streets. But, it’s all turned into a developer’s wet dream and a council’s way of of making money and none of it is designed to make the city any better.

  • Durgen Jensen

    Looks like they designed it to be a nice plexi model for their office.

  • Ali

    Oh no! Don’t let him. No more cylindrical towers please.

  • walid bouteraa

    Improving the hospital would have actually made sense but this is a joke. Another blight on the city.