The Twentieth Century Society has applied for listing for James Stirling and Michael Wilford & Partners’ No 1 Poultry in a bid to thwart a proposed revamp by Buckley Gray Yeoman
The group has also ‘strongly objected’ to the City of London over the proposals for the 1997 post-modern landmark which will overhaul the existing shop fronts, create a new entrance to the offices and increase the amount of light reaching the first and second floors (see full details below).
The ‘urgent listing application’ was submitted to Historic England in the hope the pink and yellow limestone-clad building by Bank tube station will be given a grade II* status.
Built by developer Peter Palumbo and completed five years after architect Stirling’s death in 1992, the office block cannot be considered for a lesser grade II rating due to its age. Buildings normally have to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing - unless they are exceptional and under threat.
According to Twentieth Century Society director Catherine Croft, the ‘playful’ and ‘contextual masterpiece’ remains one ‘of the most significant examples of commercial post modern architecture in England’, arguing that the submitted proposals would ‘dilute the architectural design intent’.
In addition, in its letter (see attached) to the city’s planners today (11 June), the Society claims the Buckley Gray Yeoman scheme ‘risked harming the significance of the building by irreversibly changing the relationship between solids and voids on the road elevations’.
The letter goes on: ‘[We consider] that introducing new and larger openings on the internal rotunda facade would disrupt the rhythm and overall aesthetic of the architecture.’
Speaking last month, when the plans were lodged, 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
No1 Poultry in the AJ Buildings Library
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C20 Society makes listing bid for Stirling's No1 Poultry