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HTA sparks anger with plans for tower block behind Hoover Building


HTA Design is facing a backlash over its plans to build a 22-storey tower behind the Hoover Building in north-west London, with campaigners arguing it will ‘desecrate’ the Art Deco landmark

The London-based practice’s scheme for developer Amro would see 305 homes built on the site of a petrol station and part of a car park owned by Tesco in Perivale.

However, concerns have been raised over the impact of the so-called Wiltern development on the Grade II*-listed 1933 Hoover Building in front of it, which is also owned by the supermarket giant.

The plans, set to go before Ealing Council’s planning committee next week, have been criticised by Historic England, which argues that the scheme will undermine the ‘landmark status of the Hoover Building’.

The heritage body reminded the council that the former vacuum cleaner factory on the A40, designed by Wallis, Gilbert and partners, was ’amongst the most celebrated examples of Art Deco architecture in England’.

It wrote: ’The Hoover Building was designed to be an eye-catching landmark in fleeting views along the A40. […] the proposed tall building would appear as arguably the dominant feature along much of this stretch of roadway.’

While Historic England said it was encouraged by the fact the applicant had lowered the height of the scheme, it remained concerned about the proposed tall building development ‘in this important historic place’.

Local residents have launched a campaign against the project, which they say would ’desecrate England’s most famous Art Deco building’.

Alex Nieora, member of the Perivale Residents Association, said the building was out of scale with the area, which is mostly comprised of two-storey interwar suburban houses.

Nieora also said the views of the Hoover Building submitted by the developer ’do not reflect reality’ and that many were ’strategically taken with trees or telegraph poles in the way’ of the view of the building.

In documents lodged with Ealing Council, HTA said its part 22, part 10-storey scheme had been designed to respect and complement the architecture of the Hoover Building. 

It said the ambition was to achieve this by ’avoiding pastiche replications’ and instead pursue a ’modern interpretation of well-known Art Deco motifs’.

Simon Bayliss, managing partner at HTA Design, said: ‘The scheme was developed in close consultation with both the London Borough of Ealing and Historic England and with HTA using a series of physical and virtual models to evolve the scale and massing of the proposed tower and adjacent wings to respond to its setting near the Hoover Building, and minimise impact on the nearby housing which is more suburban in character.

‘The elevational design, detailing and materiality of the proposed building references the architecture of the Hoover Building, while the arrival of new housing with communal spaces and surrounding landscape will create a more urban setting that more appropriately reflects the scale of the Hoover Building.’

The former Hoover factory’s main building opened in 1932 and was constructed using a steel-reinforced concrete frame. It has a ‘snowcrete’ exterior, a type of Portland-limestone cement with a white pigment, and Egyptian-inspired details on its façade.

In the late 1980s the Hoover Company stopped producing vacuum cleaners and Tesco purchased the site. A factory building located behind the main office building was demolished but the significant structures were preserved and restored.

After many years lying unused, the main Hoover Building was acquired by IDM Properties in 2015, and converted into 66 luxury flats in a scheme designed by Interrobang.

The main Hoover Building was given Grade II*-listed Building status in 1980, with the Canteen Building also granted Grade II*-listed Building status in 1981.


Readers' comments (7)

  • Gordon  Gibb

    The scheme does look massively out of scale and I can understand why people would be concerned. The Hoover Building is not predominantly Egyptian in its decoration. Although there are Egyptianate elements, used to better effect in his earlier work, Thomas Wallis was moving into a more Jazz Style idiom by the time of Hoover, picking up Native American and geometric forms, within basic classical monumentality.

    His much better building on the Great West Road, the Firestone Buiding from 1928, was detroyed in an episode of state sponsored vandalism in 1980, when the developer, Trafalgar House, demolished it over a weekend with the inside knowledge that the listing would arrive on the Monday. That is why Hoover was listed when it was.

    It would be good to know that lessons have been learned from that, and that the horizonal emphasis of the building sitting on the "road of factories" is not going to be lost because of an inappropriate and overbearing neighbour.

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  • When don’t the “local residents” complain whenever there’s a planning application?! What about the new residents that need somewhere to live? HTA have produced a design that maximises the value of the site, while paying respect to an iconic building from the 1920s? The loss of the Firestone was a tragedy. Hounslow’s Planning Dept, now about 3 strong, are as dozy as ever?!

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  • Sorry, 1930s building.

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  • Gordon  Gibb

    David Farmery I don't think that maximising the value of the site is a material consideration in planning terms. If it were, out-of- scale development potentially insulting or even destroying its context would be self-justifying.

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  • David Farmery, are you familiar with the location at all? Do you live in the houses nearby? No i doubt it. That area is already heavily congested and with added 305 flats there will be no new roads and still just one road in and one road out. The image of proposed development makes it look as though the new 22 story development would be alot further from the Hoover Building than it actually is. New residents need somewhere AFFORDABLE to live and need family homes. They will NOT need overpriced 1/2 bedroom flats - that is a fact. And if the local authority was that concerned about affordable home then they would have not left empty houses all along the A40 in North Acton for the past 20 years. I think you need to research things fully before you slag of residents who have lived there all their lives and actually realise what impact 305 new homes would have in that area, and fitting into the same space that is currently a 6 pump petrol station

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  • HTA are good at desecration and inappropriate development check out their monstrosity going up near East Croydon station

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  • A fresh approach is needed. The proposal looks compromised by too many conflicting views on what ‘fits’ best. Maximising value seems to be driving the scheme, another approach is needed.

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