The DCMS has refused to list No1 Poultry - ignoring Historic England’s advice over a major listing decision for the second time in two months
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) claimed that James Stirling’s 1997 postmodern landmark was not under threat by proposed alterations drawn up by Buckley Gray Yeoman and so did not merit a Grade II* listing.
In October, the department also went against Historic England’s advice and turned down an attempt to list Basil Spence’s Hyde Park barracks - a 33-storey Brutalist tower which the organisation said warranted being listed at Grade II (AJ 01.10.15).
Speaking about today’s decision, Emily Gee, head of Listing at Historic England, said: ’We recommended that No.1 Poultry be listed at Grade II* and are disappointed that the Secretary of State did not agree that it was under threat.
’We consider that the proposed changes to the building would alter its character and wanted to provide clarity on the building’s special architectural interest to inform its future management.
She added: ’No.1 Poultry is a highly significant late work by one of Britain’s leading post-war architects, James Stirling. It was a key work of late 20th century architecture, built by a prominent developer who was determined to create a building of enduring quality.’
Built by developer Peter Palumbo and completed five years after architect Stirling’s death in 1992, the office block could not have been considered for a lesser grade II rating due to its age.
The bid had been launched by the Twentieth Century Society which wanted statutory protection for the pink and yellow limestone-clad building by Bank to thwart Buckley Gray Yeoman’s plan. The listing bid had been backed by a host of star names including Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster and Richard Rogers as well as the original design team (AJ 27.07.15).
Reacting to the news, Henrietta Billings from The Twentieth Century Society said: ’We are very disappointed by the decision. It is extraordinary that [this decision] has been made not on the grounds that the architectural and historical merits are inadequate for listing.
’Listing has instead been refused because the DCMS has overridden the opinion of Historic England, the original design team and [ourselves] that the current proposals for substantial alterations do constitute a threat to the building’s integrity.’
The decision leaves Britain’s foremost postmodern building extremely vulnerable
She added: ’We are currently looking at our options for challenging this decision which leaves Britain’s foremost postmodern building extremely vulnerable.’
The application has yet to be determined by the City of London planning committee.
However a spokesperson for the building’s owners Wood Grafton One Sarl said they welcomed the decision: ’We recognise One Poultry’s architectural significance, and our proposed changes aim to enhance the building by addressing it’s shortcomings.
’Far from threatening the key design elements of One Poultry, our proposed improvements will secure it’s future for the long term.
’We now look forward to our proposals being considered by the Corporation of London in due course.’