When 99 Bishopsgate was completed in 1976, it had the fastest lifts in Europe, travelling at up to 6.5 metres-per-second up and down the 25 floors of the building. Designed by GMW Architects (Gollins Melvin Ward Partnership, who were subsumed into Scott Brownrigg in 2015), it is notable for a slight bulge running vertically up the centre of each facade and a horizontal black stripe around halfway up the tower. While the building is a commercial skyscraper, a public right of way exists through the building as part of the City of London ‘highwalk’ system, connecting a pedestrian bridge over London Wall to the walkways around the neighbouring Tower 42 (aka the Natwest tower). 99 Bishopsgate was heavily damaged in 1993 by a truck bomb detonated by the Provisional IRA, which destroyed the nearby St Ethelburga’s church and also damaged Tower 42. It re-opened in mid-1995 as a multi-let office tower and is currently owned (leasehold) by Hammerson and managed by CBRE Group.
Thirteen years ago I was lucky enough to live in the centre of Shoreditch. I loved the area very much and although it has changed a lot since, I have remained greatly attached to the edge of the City and its amazingly rich history. I found the location of 99 Bishopsgate extremely inspiring. The juxtaposition of verticality and horizontality is striking and I love the fact that it is a crossroad joining the futuristic side of the City to its ancient history, with resonant street names like London Wall, Moorgate and of course Bishopsgate I knew instantly that I wanted it the music to be led by electric organs, with drums and woodwinds interrupting the linear repetitive melodic lines. I had in mind a medieval procession transported into an ultra-modern architectural environment: Baroque Music by way of Wendy Carlos.