The overriding requirement for this project in the heart of London was for a landmark design that did justice to its premier location. The building adjoins a Wren church on one side and the old Simpson’s building – a pioneering modernist structure from the 1930s – on the other. This mixed retail and commercial development contains over 6500m2 of office space and nearly 2800m2 of shops. The main impact of the eight-storey building lies in the Portland and Savonniers limestone facings coupled with cast bronze column capitals. Large granite-crested dormer windows and turned limestone urns 3m high create a dramatic silhouette against a sloping roof.
The building used stone-faced precast concrete cladding panels from The Marble Mosaic Company in Weston-super-Mare. Indeed, through main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine, the company was responsible for detail design, manufacture, delivery and installation of the panels in a contract worth in excess of £3m.
As well as the limestone facings, Chinese constellation grey and red Sanhe and Kashmir gold granite facings were used, along with three types of srock brick facings. The materials were assembled into cladding panels with reinforced concrete backings. In addition, some units were designed to act as structural elements supporting other cladding materials. Complete panels weighed up to 10 tonnes.