Learn more about Tower 42
|Location||London, United Kingdom|
Tower 42 is the tallest skyscraper in the City of London and the fifth tallest in London as a whole. It was originally built for the National Westminster Bank, hence its older name, the NatWest Tower. Seen from above,the Tower closely resembles the NatWest logo (three chevrons in a hexagonal arrangement). The tower, designed by Richard Seifert, is located at 25 Old Broad Street. It was built between 1971 and 1979, and opened in 1980, costing a total of £72 million.
Its status as the first skyscraper in the City was a coup for the NatWest, but was extremely controversial at the time, as it was a major departure from the previous restrictions on tall buildings in London. The building is constructed around a huge concrete core from which the floors are cantilevered, giving it great strength but significantly limiting the amount of office space available. On opening, this was not a consideration — but following the Big Bang in the City, trading in banks changed and the tower became obsolete thanks to the lack of large trading floors. The cantilever is constructed to take advantage of the air rights granted to it and the neighbouring site whilst respecting the banking hall on that adjacent site, as only one building was allowed to be developed. For a time it was the tallest cantilever in the world.
On April 24 1993, the Provisional IRA exploded a large truck bomb in the Bishopsgate area of the City of London. The bomb extensively damaged the NatWest Tower and many other buildings in the vicinity, causing over £1 billion worth of damage. The tower suffered severe damage and had to be entirely reclad and internally refurbished (demolition would have been too difficult and expensive). After refurbishment, NatWest decided not to re-occupy and renamed the building the International Financial Centre, then sold it. The new owners, small UK property company Greycoat, renamed it Tower 42, in reference to its 42 floors. It is now a general-purpose office building occupied by a variety of companies.
The tower features a seafood and champagne bar on the 42nd floor called Vertigo 42. Its height affords patrons an excellent view westwards across central London and beyond.
 General information
- Tower 42 was the tallest building in London and the United Kingdom for 10 years. At its completion in 1980, it claimed this title from the BT Tower (175 m / 574 ft), a transmission tower located at 60 Cleveland Street in Fitzrovia, London.
- One Canada Square surpassed Tower 42 in 1990, ending its ten-year reign as Britain's tallest building.
- Tower 42 contains two restaurants: Rhodes Twenty Four, which is situated on the 24th floor and operated by renowned chef Gary Rhodes; and Vertigo 42, a champagne and seafood bar located on the 42nd floor.
- The Tower is shown in the sequences leading up to the destruction of the earth in the television series of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy leading to unfounded speculation that the name links to The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything
- The fourth epic Top Gear race ended at Vertigo 42, with Jeremy Clarkson at least appearing to just beat Richard Hammond and James May. Clarkson took a Bugatti Veyron and May a private Cessna 182 from Alba, near Turin.
 See also
- Tall buildings in London
- 30 St Mary Axe — Tower 42's nearest tall neighbour
- One Canada Square (Canary Wharf) — the tallest building in London
- List of tallest structures in London
- List of tallest buildings and structures in Great Britain
 External links
- The Tower 42 web site
- Vertigo42 - seafood and champagne bar on the 42nd floor
- Skyscrapernews.com file on Tower 42
- SkyscraperCity.com — a forum for skyscraper enthusiasts
- Rhodes Twenty Four
- Google Maps: satelite image
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