Tower 42, built in 1981, was the tallest building in London for ten years, until the completion of Canada Square in Canary Wharf. It is still the tallest building in the City of London and continues to have a symbolic presence. With the changing nature of banking requiring large trading floors, the tower was becoming obsolete and it was identified instead as a suitable location for the myriad of organisations that need a smaller but significant presence in the Square Mile.
Fletcher Priest identified that the requirements of these organisations are similar to those provided by an international hotel with shared meeting and conference spaces, concierge service, and high-quality bars, cafes and restaurants that could also add to the vibrancy of this part of the City. Lower level blocks each side of the base of the tower were reconfigured and extended to improve their efficiency and provided additional space equivalent to thirteen floors of the tower.