No 1 Poultry, the distinctive pink-and-cream building near Bank station, deserves Grade II* listed status. So thinks the Twentieth Century Society, who have put out a call to protect the landmark from intervention.
The Society argues that the building, designed by the firm of Sir James Stirling, is a unique and important contribution to London's built environment. Director Catherine Croft explains:
"We consider No 1 Poultry to be one of the most significant examples of commercial ‘post modern’ architecture in England, designed by one of this country’s most important 20th century architects. This building is a playful, contextual masterpiece and a remarkable speculative office development from the 1990s. It is an outstanding example of post modern architecture, a style which is only just beginning to be studied and understood in historic terms. The assessment of this building for listing should trigger a re-evaluation of post modern architecture."
The call to bestow listed status on the building is a response to recently submitted alteration plans that would 'dilute' and 'chip away' at the facades.
As well as office space, the complex includes several retail units, an entrance to Bank tube and the Coq d'Argent restaurant and roof terrace.
The wedge-shaped confection is regularly listed among Londoners' most loathed buildings. Some think it looks cheap and tacky, as though built with children's bricks. Others despise the development because of what it replaced: the Victorian Mappin & Webb building. The real architectural pseuds bemoan what might have been. A dull but dignified mid-rise by Mies van der Rohe was planned for the site until the Prince of Wales intervened.
Ever contrarian, we've always rather liked the splash of colour and novelty No 1 Poultry injects into an otherwise stuffy junction. What other building in London can conjure up images of Bagpuss?