New Shimmering Glass Building for South Bank

Date: 10 April 2006

The South Bank is soon to have its own jewel in the crown - a 600,000 sq ft shimmering glass building near London Bridge.

Planning chiefs at Southwark council gave permission for the 20-storey tower, known as The Gem, on Monday.The official name for the £160million office and retail building in London Bridge Street will be New London Bridge House.The decision comes shortly after councillors allowed an application for a similarly designed 72-storey building nearby, called The Shard, which will include flats, hotels, restaurants and bars.Both buildings are being designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and his company, who are famous for works including the Pompidou Centre in Paris.Mr.Piano said: "My vision is that New London Bridge House becomes a building with its own character, strong, compelling and visible, yet not competing with the Shard.

"New London Bridge House is sculpted naturally by the curve of the railway lines, rising higher to the east and lower towards Southwark Cathedral. The other faces of the building are faceted like a gem."

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