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C20 Society fights to save Arup Associates' 2 Finsbury Avenue


The Twentieth Century Society has voiced its opposition to a move by British Land to seek immunity from listing for part of the iconic 1980s Broadgate development

Earlier this year, Historic England grade II listed 1 Finsbury Avenue, designed by Peter Foggo at Arup Associates.

Now British Land is seeking to prevent the same happening to its neighbour - 2 Finsbury Avenue also designed by Foggo - by seeking a certificate of immunity against listing from the culture secretary. This could pave the way for a major redevelopment of the plot within the City of London office campus.

A spokesperson for the 20th Century Society said: ‘The current proposals for the refurbishment and upgrading of neighbouring No 1 Finsbury Avenue show that these buildings can be adapted and upgraded sympathetically without destroying their special architectural character.

‘We urge the building owners to follow their own example and treat No 2 Finsbury Avenue with the same considered approach.’

Although each of the building’s facades are different, the society said that they ‘fall within a carefully controlled massing envelope and palette of materials to form a coherent sequence’.

The society also said that the grouping of both buildings helps to strongly define the square behind.

‘Demolition of such a recent high quality building would be a needless waste of resources, and further chip away at the architectural integrity and uniformity of the wider Broadgate development which has already suffered from the redevelopment of 4-6 Broadgate,’ the spokesperson added.

If British Land is successful in its bid for a certificate of immunity, the building would be protected from statutory listing or preservation order from the Corporation of the City of London for the next five years.

Both 1 and 2 Finsbury Avenue were completed outside of the Broadgate development masterplan – the first four phases of which were also designed by Foggo and Arup and which are covered by a COI until 2018.

Last month, Arup Associates submitted plans to overhaul and expand 1 Finsbury Avenue (see below).

Despite its listing, it was given a detailed description, using powers introduced in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act in 2013 allowing changes to parts of listed buildings which are not considered of interest.

According to landowners British Land, the proposals ‘include the faithful restoration of the building’s existing façade, as well as a number of upgrades, bringing it into line with modern performance standards’.

British Land refused to respond to the C20 Society’s comments.

Previous story (AJ 17.07.15)

Arup Associates submits plans to revamp 1 Finsbury Avenue

Plans have been submitted by Arup Associates to overhaul and expand its 1 Finsbury Avenue building within the City of London’s Broadgate campus

Built between 1982 to 1984, the block was one of 14 post-war offices buildings to be given grade II listed status by Historic England earlier this year (AJ 28.01.15).

All the buildings on the list were been given detailed descriptions, using new powers in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act in 2013 allowing changes to parts of listed buildings which are not considered of interest.

The refurbishment and extension project, which will create 28,000m² of office space and shops, will add two extra floors to the steel framed, eight storey block.

According to landowners British Land, the proposals ‘include the faithful restoration of the building’s existing façade, as well as a number of upgrades, bringing it into line with modern performance standards’.

The developer said: ‘These plans form an important part of our broader vision for Broadgate to create a vibrant, mixed-use environment, building on its location around Liverpool Street Station, a Crossrail station from 2018.

‘The demands on this area of the City are already changing, with the growth and regeneration to the north and east of the City, and we are focused on evolving the Broadgate campus to match these needs.’

Listed buildings [all grade II]

  • Brown Shipley, Moorgate, City of London, Fitzroy Robinson & Partners, 1973-5
  • 30 Cannon Street (formerly Credit Lyonnais), London, Whinney, Son & Austen Hall, 1974-7
  • 1 Finsbury Avenue, City of London, Arup Associates’ Group 2 led by Peter Foggo, 1982-4
  • Civil Aviation Authority House, (formerly Space House), Kingsway, Camden London, George Marsh of Richard Seifert & Partners, 1964-8
  • Mountbatten House (formerly Gateway House), Basingstoke, Arup Associates’ Group 2 led by Peter Foggo, 1974-76. The roof gardens at Mountbatten House have also been added to the Register of Parks and Gardens at Grade II
  • IBM Pilot Head Office, Cosham, Foster Associates, 1970-71
  • Gun Wharf (built as administrative headquarters for Lloyds of London, now civic headquarters for Medway Council), Chatham, Kent, Arup Associates, 1976-8
  • Former office of Ryder and Yates, Killingworth, Newcastle, Ryder and Yates, 1964-5
  • MEA House, Newcastle upon Tyne, Ryder and Yates, 1972-4
  • Bank House, King Street, Leeds, Building Design Partnership, 1969-71
  • Former Midland Bank, Dale Street, Liverpool, Raymond Fletcher of Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker, 1971
  • St James’s House, Frederick Street, Birmingham, John Madin, 1954-7
  • Alpha Tower, Birmingham, George Marsh of Richard Seifert & Partners, 1970-2
  • Former Central Electricity Generating Board Building (The Pavilions), Bristol, Arup Associates, 1975-8



Readers' comments (2)

  • In this age of increasing concern for 'sustainability' in the built environment (even if challenged by the recent antics of George Osborne) surely there's also the need to question the demolition of modern buildings on the 'sustainability' principle - unless their materials and components can genuinely be recycled.

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  • Having worked on the Finsbury Avenue development with Peter Foggo at Arups in the mid-1980s I made extensive representations to English Heritage last year to assist them in their bid for listing. I was surprised that only Phase 1 was listed earlier this year as Phases 1 and 2 were considered as a single entity, divided only for phasing reasons with a public route to what later became the Broadgate development. In compositional terms upgrading Phase 2 is to be expected but demolition would be a real shame. By contrast, Phase 3 was not seen as essential to the original composition and could be radically altered if necessary.

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