Fletcher Priest’s masterplan for this site in St Paul’s in the City of London set out a vision for reintegrating this important site on the processional route from Ludgate Circus to St Paul’s into the City’s social and economic life. As architects for one building and executive architects for the other designed by Sauerbruch Hutton, they have brought this to fruition.
It is a site with a colourful history. From here the Belle Sauvage coaching inn welcomed or saw off numerous fictional and real travellers; Pocahontas and London’s first rhino paid visits. Later came railway engineers who put an iron viaduct across Ludgate Hill, and World War II, which left it in ruins.
The masterplan proposed two buildings to make best use of the site’s gradient as well as level changes resulting from burying the railway in the 1990s. Their building on Ludgate Hill steps back to protect views to St Paul’s, and reinstates the subtle curve to the street which Wren used to show his design to advantage. Carefully fabricated components including pre cast frames and conical glass canopies befit the cathedral’s setting – except for the point where the two buildings meet on Old Bailey, opposite a decorative terracotta façade which stands out amid a run of Portland stone. Here the façade transforms to amber glass and Sauerbruch Hutton’s colour scheme changes to make a backdrop for a small suntrap of a piazza.
This project combines two streams of the practice’s work: strategic urban masterplanning and creating high quality sustainable workplaces. With roof gardens landscaped by Gustafson Porter and numerous terraces and balconies, most floors have access to outdoor space and enjoy quintessentially London views.
The scheme won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) top prize for Commercial Office Building of the Year 2016 and has been named as the The City of London Building of the Year 2016.
The City of London Building of the Year award was presented at a special Livery dinner, attended by Sir Michael Hopkins, on 12 July at Haberdashers’ Hall.
The shortlist and winner was drawn up and selected by a jury chaired by Paul Finch, programme director of the World Architecture Festival. The criteria has been to seek out the buildings that support the ambitions of the City of London in delivering a world-class working environment, by evaluating both the quality of the architectural design and the impact the building has had on the city street scene.
Paul Finch said “The judges felt that an area of the City where you would not have wished to walk or linger has been transformed. An eyesore had been removed and a destination created, which through the skillful deployment of colour lifted both the eye and the spirit.”
Organised by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects (WCCA), the City of London Building of the Year, which allows members of the public to nominate a building of their choice, aims to recognise the extraordinary examples of contemporary architecture to be found in the City.
The Master of the WCCA Peter Murray commented: “The City of London is home to some very fine examples of contemporary architecture. We are keen to support good design and to encourage City businesses to do so in the future.”