Could No 1 Poultry Be Granted Protected Status?

M@
By M@ Last edited 32 months ago
Could No 1 Poultry Be Granted Protected Status?

Image by Stuart Lee in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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?

Saggy old cloth cat Bagpuss (left) and One Poultry (right).

Last Updated 12 June 2015

Tom

I used to work in it. I don't dislike it but I dont think they should list it. It is pretty dull from the inside. Also, might listing it leave it at risk of becoming empty? It's a pretty strong disincentive for a company to move into a building when they know it's going to be a planning nightmare to get any changes made.

acquiescent

The loss of the building it replaced is regrettable, but taken on its own merits, it's a po-mo masterpiece. Love it or loathe it, it's genuinely distinctive and typifies an architectural moment in time that was fleeting and left little in the way of tangible legacy. It should be listed as soon as possible.

David W

I will now refer to it as "The Bagpuss Building", nice one M@, inspired...

Squiz

As I understood it the Mappin & Webb building it replaced was due to be listed when a lorry 'crashed' into the glass front of it destroying it hours prior to its listing.

Gone to my unhappy place

I have trouble thinking of it as anything other than the suicide building.

Andy Brice

It is quite ugly, but at least in a interesting, historically significant way. I hated Marco Polo House, but now I sort-of miss it.

Chz

I'll have to admit that, just as the TCS says it is, it is an outstanding example of post-modern architecture. The fact that po-mo is a hideous abomination is neither here nor there when it comes to protecting significant buildings. Unfortunately. To be fair, the other proposed building on the site was hardly Mies' best work either.

Mikhail

The building is a monument to vandalism, vulgar taste of new rich and architectural prostitution. It is badly designed above all. If listing would help to leave it to forces of nature to bring it down, let's list it. The scoundrel who vandalised the area had it sold before completion - let us have fun watching those clever people who bought this abomination try to "improve" this failure. The sooner it gives way to the restoration of the previous masterful facade, the better.