Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 12/13 Feature #5 Hoover Building

Monday, 18 March 2013

Week 12/13 Feature #5 Hoover Building

The main building fronting onto the A40. Photograph courtesy Ewan Munro via Flickr.

The Hoover Building
Architect: Wallis Gilbert and Partners
Date of construction: 1932-38
Location: A40 (Western Avenue), Perivale, West London

The Hoover building is a Grade II* listed Art Deco building located in Perivale, West London designed by Wallis Gilbert and Partners.

The buildings were the headquarters for the Hoover company, an American manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, from when it opened in 1932 until the 1980s when the company transferred its manufacturing facilities to Cambuslang, Glasgow. The main building facing onto the A40 was the first to be completed in 1932 and the adjoining factory in 1933. In 1935, an additional factory was added to cater for the increase in demand and in 1938 a building containing a canteen and recreation centre was completed. Up to 600 staff were employed in the buildings and during WWII the factories operated 24 hours a day, manufacturing electrical equipment for aircraft and tanks.

The Hoover Building is just one of a series of Art Deco industrial buildings located on the busy A40 and the nearby Great West Road connecting London to the west. The Firestone Factory (built in 1928 but demolished in 1980 before an application to list it had been submitted) was positioned along the Great West Road as well as the Coty Perfume Factory (1932) which still survives, both of which were also designed by Wallis Gilbert and Partners.

Entrance to the building. Photograph courtesy Ewan Munro via Flickr.

This main building which fronts onto the A40 is constructed from reinforced concrete and the later canteen and recreation centre building (1938) from steel. The main elevation to the A40 has a pure white concrete finish with the Hoover logo positioned in the centre of a band set at the top of a symmetrical horizontal three storey building. The main entrance is positioned in the centre accessed through gates and a landscaped garden from which ramps and steps lead up to two doors containing Art Deco detailing, above which is a fan shaped geometric window rising to the top of the first floor level. 

Detail of the gates at the entrance to the building. Photograph courtesy mermaid99 via Flickr.

The windows and doors are finished in a soft pastel green, with red banding above and below the windows. At ground floor level is blue tiling running horizontally along the columns which step back into the elevation and recessed windows and entrance. At either end of the building is a stairway tower featuring narrow vertical windows and semicircular corner windows in the style of Mendelsohn (eg. Einstein Tower, 1921).

Detail of the stairway tower interior. Photograph courtesy mermaid99 via Flickr.

Since 1989, the complex has been owned by Tesco and after the second factory (1935) was demolished, a new building was constructed in its place in 1992 to be used as a supermarket. Due to restrictions owing to its listed status and guidance from English Heritage, the design of the new building is very much in keeping with the original Art Deco scheme and features details seen in the original buildings including the fan shaped windows and pastel coloured borders and banding.

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