Fletcher Priest’s masterplan set 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 redolent with 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 LEAF Awards Developer Project of the Year 2016, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) top regional prize for Commercial Office Building of the Year 2016, the 2016 City of London Building of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the NLA Office Building of the Year amongst others.