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Portland Wharf, Tower Bridge, SE1

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Squire and Partners'entrance building and ticket office for visitors to Tower Bridge, completed in 1993, provides an elegant counterpoise to the ornate bulk of the famous London monument. This project for a new restaurant, adjacent to the southern abutment of the bridge, occupies a site owned by the City of London. Retaining a generous open space where visitors could enjoy views across the river was seen as a vital ingredient of the scheme. The two-level building contains a restaurant, cantilevered out at first floor level, with a bar below opening up to the new square. The stone frame contrasts with frameless glazing, capitalising on spectacular vistas over the Thames. The new flight of stairs from bridge level, executed in stone to match the Victorian structure, is seen as a necessary adjunct of the scheme and will provide improved pedestrian access to the Butler's Wharf area.The strong contrast between solidity and transparency is a feature common to much of the practice's work.

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