Status: Listed Grade II*
Architect: Sir Albert Richardson, Houfe & Partners
Owners: Financial Times
Location: One Friday Street, London
Originally designed by Sir Albert Richardson, Houfe & Partners in 1959 as the Financial Times’ headquarters and printworks, the 18,500m² building was constructed on a cleared bomb site to the south-east of St Paul’s Cathedral, its brickwork dressed in Hollington Staffordshire pink sandstone at the request of the FT chairman, Brendan Bracken, to reflect the colour of the newspaper.
With newspaper production and technology requirements changing in the 1980s, the Financial Times moved out and the building was threatened with demolition.
The C20 Society put the building in for listing, which was a test case as at the time the date limit for the age of buildings which could be listed was set at 1939. We pressed for the adoption of the ’30 Year Rule’ for listing (which already operated in Scotland) to which the Government finally agreed.
In 1987 the building was listed at Grade II*. A compromise was later arrived at, with the central printworks alone being demolished and replaced by a linking block, designed by Michael Hopkins & Partners. Externally, its elliptical shape has load-bearing gunmetal-faced structural bays from which the frameless windows hang. Sitting on a sandstone base and with a recessed attic storey, its tripartite form blends with the original and references a classical palazzo in design. This was subsequently recognised in 2013, when it was listed Grade II* for a second time, now including the Hopkins work. 2019 saw the FT move back into the building after almost 30 years following a major refurbishment by John Robertson Architects which drew on the building’s multi-layered history, successfully re-stitching and repurposing the building for a 21st century news organisation.
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