The AJ has obtained the in-depth report by Historic England outlining why it thought No 1 Poultry deserved a Grade II* listing
Last week the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) ruled that James Stirling, Michael Wilford & Associates’ 1997 Postmodern landmark did not deserve heritage protection and was not threatened by controversial proposals to revamp the block (AJ 04.12.15).
In making the decision, the culture secretary ignored Historic England’s expert advice that the pink and yellow limestone-clad building was an ’outstanding commercial building [and] among the best architecture of its type in the City’ (see full document attached).
In its report dated 15 October, the heritage body claims the building, opposite Bank tube station, boasts an exceptionally ’generous public realm’ and an ’interlocking geometry [with] a powerful intensity that derives from the tight constraints of the site’.
Historic England adds that ’if permitted to remain in its original guise’ No 1 Poultry would ’take its place among [the] key buildings of the later 20th century’.
The listing bid was launched by the Twentieth Century Society in the summer, following a planning application by architect BuckleyGrayYeoman to rework some of the building’s lower elements, such as filling in the colonnade with glazing and enlarging some of the windows.
The application has yet to be determined by the City of London planning committee.
Excerpt from Historic England’s advice – a case for listing
- Architect: a highly significant late work by one of Britain’s foremost post-war architects, which expresses Stirling’s singular approach to design.
- Architectural and design interest: an unsurpassed example of commercial Postmodernism, on a monumental scale, intricate in its planning and rigorously scrutinised and executed.
- Commercial development: one of the key developments of the post-war era, built by a prominent developer, determined to create a building of enduring quality.
- Spatial interest and form: a striking symmetrical composition on a tightly constrained site, exemplifying Stirling’s work in its exploration of space and movement though interlocking geometrical volumes and in its use of materials, colour and motifs, and exceptionally carrying this through to a dynamic interior space.
- Planning: exemplary urban contextualism in a complex spatial inter-relationship of mixed-use office and retail accommodation, a public right of way, roof garden and restaurant, entrance to the underground station and public house, where the generosity of the public realm is exceptional for a speculative scheme.
- Civic presence and group value: occupies a very prominent site in the heart of the City of London, in close proximity to highly prestigious civic and commercial buildings, which are referenced in the design.