Google+ London Architecture Blog: Week 39 13 Feature #32 No.1 Poultry

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Week 39 13 Feature #32 No.1 Poultry

No. 1 Poultry
Project Team: James Stirling (Architect), Peter Palumbo (Developer)
Date Completed: Design 1988, construction 1997
Location:  No. 1 Poultry, London EC2R 8EJ

No. 1 Poultry is a mixed use office and retail development located at the intersection of Cheapside, Queen Victoria Street, King William Street, Cornhill, Threadneedle Street and Prince's Street in the City of London. The building was designed by Sir James Stirling in the postmodernist style.

The project begun in 1968 when the developer Peter Palumbo approached Mies Van Der Rohe to design an large office tower on the site similar in design to his Seagram Building (completed 1958). Plans were finalised in 1969 and planning permission was granted. However, the developer struggled to acquire sufficient land to build the design and eventually the planning permission expired. It was at this stage that James Stirling became involved. Initially helping the developer with a re-application for the same design. Despite Stirling being a highly respected architect and adviser at the time, the application was refused and an alternative design was drawn up by Stirling himself.

Stirling's design was approved and details were finalised in 1988. However, construction was again delayed and when Stirling died in 1992, his design remained unbuilt. It was not until 3 years later that construction began on site under the supervision of Stirling's partner, Michael Wilford to the exact design by Stirling. The construction was eventually completed in 1997, five year after Stirling's death and nearly 30 years after the project had initially been proposed.

The design is an eclectic mix of geometry and materials occupying a prominent triangular site beside a busy intersection. Bands of pink and yellow Limestone run horizontally around the building punctuated at lower levels by deep tall recesses. The central triangular fenestration providing an entrance to the building, an atrium and a link between Poultry and Queen Victoria Street. Above this, large glazed masses extrude out from the elevation and break the elevation into a series of blocks.

The most prominent feature of the building is the circular corner tower, which provides access at ground floor level (via a keyhole shaped opening) a clock facing the intersection and a platform at the very top which overlooks the city. A flag completes the tower. The top floor of the building is currently occupied by a French restaurant called Coq d'Argent and the offices inside the building are occupied by Aviva Investors.

RIBA Blog article showing the original designs for the site by Mies Van Der Rohe.

No comments:

Post a Comment