Optimising the development potential of prime sites in global centres now demands innovative solutions and collaborative team working, as well as long-term strategic thinking. The routing of the new east-west Elizabeth Line through the heart of the City of London unlocked the potential for regeneration of the Moorgate area and a reassessment of its sub-prime commercial office offer. A building had been built over Moorgate underground station in the 1960s and at that time was able to benefit from sharing its structure with the station below.
In replacing this life-expired asset, this was not a route not available to the current team who had to build a new structure over the station in a single jump and without disrupting the operation of the railway for a single day. In overcoming these obstacles, WilkinsonEyre’s design for 21 Moorfields makes a positive benefit of the column free structural solution, creating a major commercial opportunity as well as two new public squares and a new City walkway to the Barbican. Incorporated into the new design is the entrance to the WilkinsonEyre designed Elizabeth Line station.
Scheduled to complete in 2023, 21 Moorfields now includes more than 550,000ft² of prime space and will become the new London headquarters for Deutsche Bank; incorporating football field sized trading floors, office space, restaurants, retail, six roof terraces and a multi-level wellness centre.
The development is arranged as two buildings around a public square, related but unique in their architectural language and connected by a podium containing plant and vehicle servicing, with the new Elizabeth Line ticket hall beneath. The public realm has been carefully considered to create a direct sightline through the site on a key route between the Barbican and Moorgate Underground Station.
The site presented an enormous number of constraints above and below ground. These included the proximity to listed buildings and conservation areas, protected views of St Paul’s and the presence of the London Underground network below, limiting space for the new foundations for the development to just 16 piles set along the north and south perimeter of the site – these are the highest capacity piles ever sunk in London.
The structural complexities, now triumphantly resolved, are celebrated in a series of trusses spanning the 60 metres of the stations and culminating in the eastern elevations giant steel truss – an outward expression of the exceptional engineering of the Elizabeth Line.