James Stirling’s 1997 Postmodern No1 Poultry building is to be reconsidered for listing – only seven months after a widely supported listing bid was turned down
In December the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) ruled out giving the office and retail building statutory heritage protection, despite calls from leading industry figures and a recommendation from Historic England to list the pink and yellow limestone-clad landmark.
However, following an appeal by the Twentieth Century Society, the DCMS has agreed to rethink its original refusal. It is not known when the review will take place, but it is understood that the new culture secretary Karen Bradley will make the final decision.
The surprise move was instigated by former culture secretary John Whittingdale, just before he was sacked by prime minister Theresa May.
Last month the DCMS told the society: ‘The secretary of state has decided, in the circumstances, that it is appropriate for him to retake the decision. In particular, it is acknowledged that a building under 30 years old may be of special architectural or historic interest, even if it is not of outstanding quality (interpreted as being Grade I or II*) or under threat.’
It added: ‘The new decision will be based on exactly the same evidence, reports and representations as the original decision.’
Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society, said the building had an ‘extremely strong case for listing’.
She added: ‘It’s such an outstandingly good example of Postmodernism. I can’t see any reason why it would be possible to not list it.
‘There’s been far too much political interference in the listings process recently … ministers listening to arguments other than architectural and historic interests, being swayed by economic pressures, rather than fulfilling their duties as the legislation sets out.’
The listing bid for Grade II* protection of the building, opposite Bank tube station, was first submitted by the Twentieth Century Society last summer.
It followed a planning application by architect Buckley Gray Yeoman to rework some of the building’s lower elements, such as enlarging some of the windows.
Despite opposition from leading architectural figures, including Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Poultry client Peter Palumbo, Buckley Gray Yeoman won approval for the alterations in March from the City of London Corporation planning and transportation committee.
However, the practice did amend parts of the application in response to the opposition, including reversing its proposal to infill the building’s colonnades.