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Buckley Gray Yeoman submits plans for No1 Poultry revamp


Buckley Gray Yeoman has submitted plans to revamp the iconic No 1 Poultry in the City of London designed by James Stirling and Michael Wilford & Partners

The proposals for the 1997 post-modern landmark will overhaul the existing shop fronts, create a new entrance to the offices and increase the amount of light which reaches the first and second floors.

A spokesman for project backer Wood Grafton One Sarl, an arm of boutique investment firm Perella Weinberg Partners, said: ‘From the occupiers’ perspectives, [the building] suffers from a few shortcomings, which some architectural commentators have argued exist because Stirling was unable to revise and refine the designs for the building due to his untimely death.

‘To address the occupiers’ concerns [we] propose a small number of enhancements to the building to improve its efficiency and create a more impressive office entrance that is demanded by today’s occupiers’.

He added: ‘[We] recognise the architectural significance of No1 Poultry. The proposed changes… address its practical inefficiencies in a way that is in keeping with a building of its status, and without compromising its key design elements.’

The proposals at a glance:

  • Moving the glazing line of the ground-floor shops forward to the portico columns, allowing the ‘retail units to assert their presence on the street’
  • Relocating the office entrance to Queen Victoria Street, creating an enlarged reception area and helping to reduce clashes with the entrance lifts to the Coq d’Argent restaurant
  • Increasing the size of some windows and light-well openings at ground, first and second floor levels. Currently some windows overlooking Poultry and Queen Victoria Street ‘are misaligned with the portico column openings’, reducing natural light

Clad in pink and yellow limestone, the much-photographed block was built by developer Peter Palumbo and completed five years after architect Stirling’s death (1992).

The plans were submitted to the City of London Corporation this week.



Readers' comments (4)

  • Why hasn't Michael Wilford been asked? Once again an example of the original architect being bye-passed.
    Moving the glazing line of the groun-floor shops forward to the portico columns sounds a highly retrograde step.
    The intrusion of commercial signage/shopfront design on the architectural character of the average British high street is a curse. In most European countries this is simply not allowed.
    We have just come back from Munich where with noted with interest that even Lidl had been restricted to just two small projecting signs on a building next to the Ostbanehof.

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  • Chris Rogers

    It certainly isn't 'iconic' - disappointing you should use that term, over-used as it is.

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  • A great building, looking better and better as the years go by, we can reassess its era, and its virtues become apparent. Its building was overseen by Michael Wilford who knew exactly what he was doing. The glazing-in proposal by BGY removes one of the key aspects of Stirling/Wilford's design - the voids at street level providing an arcade. Fill these in and people are forced out into the weather on a narrow pavement on a busy road. And retail branding will further wreck the facade.

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  • Difficult Junctions!
    The proposed changes sound minimal but detailed and tricky?...I live around the corner from No 1 and enjoy its flamboyant mannerisms, acidulous colour play and Egyptian auras! Regarding the proposed detailed changes, I would suggest caution on the retail adjustments to ensure that the conjectural relationship to neighbours remains balanced (Lutyens, Soane, Hawksmoor, Tite and Wren). Remember this building came at an interlude for architecture 1990-94 where the mood shifted from PoMo to muted modernism. Perhaps have a discussion with a master of post modernism such as Charles Hollands...its going to take deftness and wit to get it right. Good luck all involved.
    Wayne Head
    Founder Architecture With

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