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List-less landmarks

astragal

The decision not to list the Commercial Union (CU) tower and piazza in the City of London is the second occasion where a significant landmark in the commercial architectural history of the City has been ducked. The first was Drapers Gardens, the Richard Seifert-designed block now being demolished because of alleged problems with materials in the building. That was the first commercial tower in the Square Mile. One of the reasons CU has not been listed is the damage done by the IRA bomb and the subsequent repair work. So what? It has been well-executed; if buildings are not to be listed because of repairs, how about de-listing the Tower of London, much of which was rebuilt in the 19th century? Interestingly, the CU tower came in for high praise at the public inquiry into the Mies van der Rohe Mansion House Square proposals, 20 years ago. The praise came from, among others, Richard Rogers, who was particularly keen on the merits of the tower. Oh well.

Developer John Ritblat will be relieved that no listing is taking place since it may make life easier for his 122 Leadenhall Street tower proposal, which abuts the CU piazza. His architect is, of course, Richard Rogers.

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