Richard Seifert was the architect behind the stunning design of the tallest building in the City, Tower 42. Thanks to his unrivalled work ethic, serendipitous connections and well thought-out design work, Seifert soon became an awe-inspiring figure in the world of commercial development. From the early 1960s until his retirement in the 1980s, his reputation for speed and mastery of planning law made him the doyen of commercial architects, not only in London but also in provincial cities, and later in mainland Europe as well. However in this case planning difficulties delayed construction and completion; excavation of the site began in 1971 and the building was officially opened in June 1981 by Her Majesty the Queen.
At 601 feet Tower 42 is the tallest skyscraper in the City and the fifth tallest in London as a whole. It was originally built for the National Westminster Bank, hence its former name, the NatWest Tower.
The three over-lapping half-hexagonal chevrons of the Tower closely resemble the bank's main logo. The building is constructed around a massive concrete core from which the floors are cantilevered, giving it great strength. In addition the three lead faces of the hexagons point with near perfect alignment towards the three great markets at Spitalfields, Old Billingsgate and Smithfield.The façade is composed of tinted glass and brushed stainless steel mullions.The building's foundations descend to a depth of 50 metres (164 feet).
A comprehensive renovation was completed in 1995 when a new glass and steel entrance hall was built on Old Broad Street and the external steel cladding was replaced.
The entrance lobby comprises a three-storey tinted glass atrium with suspended lighting features and flooring finishes of Zimbabwean granite paving and beige Italian marble. The café and seating area have contemporary designer furniture. The reception desk, designed with backlit feature glass, is located on the mezzanine level and just above on the podium level there is a lounge area for customers and visitors. This leads through to the building’s main bank of elevators; the cab interiors are a mixture of glass, mirror and steel with marble flooring.
Open House visitors will have access to the lobby, level 24 (where the Rhodes Twenty Four restaurant is situated) and level 42 (Vertigo 42 seafood and champagne bar).