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Foster and Rogers add weight to No1 Poultry listing bid

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Norman Foster and Richard Rogers have become the latest high-profile architects to speak up against plans by Buckley Gray Yeoman to revamp Number 1 Poultry

The intervention by the two giants of the UK architecture scene comes a week after Peter Palumbo, the client who commissioned James Stirling to design the 1990s City of London building, lashed out at the proposals.

Both last week submitted objections to the plans, which would see alterations to the building including bigger windows, a new office entrance and the extension of retail units to fill arcade recesses.

In his letter, Foster said: ‘I would like to add my voice to the growing chorus of rightful opposition to the proposed changes to Number 1 Poultry which was designed by James Stirling and is located at the very heart of the City of London.

‘This is the work of a commission by one of the great patrons of modern architecture, Lord Palumbo, and one of the most outstanding and influential architects of his generation on the world stage.

‘This work is overdue for protection either by listing or a clear rejection of the proposed changes.’
Meanwhile Rogers said: ‘James Stirling was the first British architect to develop a truly modern style. One Poultry is a beautifully designed, post-modern masterpiece with fits neatly into its prominent site.

‘It is one of his last buildings and pays special attention to context, use of materials and subtle playfulness.

He added that he believes the building deserves grade II listing.

Architects Zaha Hadid, Gordon Kelly, Piers Gough and Chris Dyson along with critics Owen Hatherley, Stephen Bayley, Charles Jencks and Hugh Pearman have already voiced objections to the proposals.

At the end of June, 24 members of James Stirling and Michael Wilford & Partners’ office spoke out about the proposed revamp, including Stirling’s partner Michael Wilford and the scheme’s project architect Laurence Bain. 

In her letter to the Corporation of London, Hadid described the building as a ‘Postmodern masterpiece that deserves to be kept as a monument to innovative design and excellent execution’.

Palumbo submitted his letter to support a bid by the Twentieth Century Society to award the building Grade II listing status.

He said: ‘Had Buckley Gray Yeoman taken the time and trouble to acquaint themselves with the content of the Public Inquiry that follows the planning application to the City Corporation of London for the design by Sir James Stirling; and the further judicial inquiry that was finally settled by the decision of the House of Lords, they would see, unpalatable to them as it would have been, that the forensic examination to which each and every element of the design was put reveals the present proposals of Buckley Gray Yeoman and the assumptions upon which they are based, as shallow, empty, and of no account.’

In January, Historic England omitted the building from a list of 14 post-war office buildings to which it gave listed status (see AJ 28.01.15).


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