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Rejected: Seifert's Tower 42 refused listing

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Richard Seifert’s landmark Tower 42 in London has been turned down for listing

Originally called the National Westminster Tower, the building was one of 14 post-war offices being assessed for listing by English Heritage (EH) as part of a thematic review of late 20th-century commercial buildings.

However, after considering the merits and condition of the 183m-tall building at 25 Old Broad Street, the heritage organisation ruled out giving the 1980 tower statutory protection - and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport agreed.

According to EH, the 34-year-old building had been altered too much and too many of the original fittings removed to warrant listing.

Tony Calladine, head of designation at English Heritage, said: ‘Tower 42 ranks among Richard Seifert and Partners’ most distinctive buildings and in its day was a landmark building in the City of London. The bar for listing buildings this young is particularly high and in our view it didn’t have the necessary level of special historic and architectural interest.

‘Tower 42 has undergone considerable alteration – the original interior fittings have been removed and a new entrance constructed, the cladding and windows have been replaced – it therefore does not meet with the criteria for listing.’

It is understood the listing assessment had been rushed through by EH, ahead of an expected planning application for the site.

Henrietta Billings, of the Twentieth Century Society, said the conservation body was ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by the decision ‘given the level of alteration’.

She said: ‘Looking back on his career, Seifert considered it to be one of his most important buildings of his career, and despite the changes, it remains one of the most elegant and sophisticated landmarks in the City. We are sure that future Seifert listings will follow – and Space House in Holborn is currently under consideration – another of his commercial buildings that we feel is a particularly strong candidate.’

A decision on whether the other 13 buildings under consideration will be listed is expected before the end of the year.

The ‘thematic’ list in full

1. Space House, 1 Kemble Street, Kingsway (Richard Seifert)

2. Chartered Accountants’ Hall, One Moorgate Place (William Whitfield)

3. Founders Court Lothbury (Fitzroy Robinson and Partners)

4. NatWest Tower [Tower 42], 25 Old Broad Street,  (Richard Seifert)

5. Bush Lane House, 80 Cannon Street (Arup Associates)

6. 30 Cannon Street (Whinney Son & Austen Hall)

7. 150 Leadenhall Street (GMW Partnership)

8. 6-8 Bishopsgate (GMW Architects)

9. 1 Finsbury Avenue (Arup Associates)

10. IBM Pilot Head Office (Lynx House), Portsmouth (Foster and Partners)

11. Newspaper House, Oxford (Arup Associates)

12. Gateway House (Mountbatten House), Basingstoke (Arup)

13. Gateway Two (Belvedere House) Basingstoke  (Arup)

14.  Gun Wharf, Chatham (Arup)

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