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London Demolition Derby

The City of London is seeing a totally unprecedented flurry of activity surrounding the crop of existing sixties towers it has.

Most famously there is the unusual demolition of 122 Leadenhall by McGee that has created a building which seemingly hovers in mid-air. This is due to the top down construction that has a central core supporting a crown that works as a cantilever to support the floors slung under it hence the need to demolish the lowest floors and work up.

It's been made even harder by the fact that this was originally a building with bank vaults with concrete walls at times over 1.5 metres thick - enough to stop even Michael Caine getting into for the gold.

This isn't the only odd demolition now underway in the City of London. Another victim of the wrecking ball is 20 Fenchurch Street, a tower that like 122 Leadenhall was built with a top down technique.

Those with keen eyes who have been on the roof terrace of Plantation Place will have been able to see the steel hangars between the concrete crown and the bulk of the structure that kept the floors in place and allowed the building to offer column-free floor-plates.

Rather than nibble away at the lower floors and then work up, the demolition contractor Keltbray plan approaching this by construction temporary steelwork from the ground up that will provide supporting columns from the floors allowing them to demolish it in a more traditional manner.

This has worked well with Drapers Gardens despite howls of protest from some that it was an important enough building to leave standing. Cantilevered out from the base, this one is being removed in the usual manner of working from the top floor down so it can be replaced by a Foggo Associates designed mid-rise.

Demolition is also underway on Kempson House and Bishopsgate House to clear the site of the Heron Tower and Crosby Court to allow construction to begin on the Bishopsgate Tower and at One New Change opposite St Paul's Cathedral. Demolition is also mooted in the immediate future on the grotty 78 Cannon Street and Bucklersbury House.

There are even more old towers that are being worked on than the demolition jobs. Just south of Liverpool Street Dashwood House is being gutted and rebuilt with extra space added to the top, and a reclad that will see the old stone fašade replaced with floor to ceiling glass.

Meanwhile, the infamously ugly Stock Exchange Tower is now looking rather glassy as external work on it nears completion. As with Dashwood House, it has been stripped internally and reclad to completely modernise it and make it an effective property again.

Outside the City core there is perhaps most awaited demolition as scaffolding has started to crawl up Southwark Towers, rapidly being vacated by occupier PWC, to allow it to also be demolished and London Bridge Tower to be built in its place.

It all adds to an unrivalled demolition derby as heart of sixties high-rises in central London is ripped out to be replaced with a new and if not better, then certainly glassier, future.

Article Related buildings:

122 Leadenhall Street

122 Leadenhall Street
20 Fenchurch Street

20 Fenchurch Street
Southwark Towers

Southwark Towers
Drapers Garden under demolition
Drapers Garden under demolition
122 Leadenhall Demolition
122 Leadenhall Demolition
Dashwood House
Dashwood House
122 Leadenhall
122 Leadenhall