The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

1 Poultry, City of London, photo credit: Sarah Duncan

Press release: Unprecedented support for 1 Poultry from original design team

A total of twenty four members of James Stirling Michael Wilford and Partners original office are backing the Twentieth Century Society’s recent listing application for the City of London’s 1 Poultry building.

Nineteen of the signatories of a letter submitted today to Historic England in support of listing were part of the original design team, the remaining five were contemporary colleagues in the office.

We have never had such a comprehensive and passionate response from an original architectural team, who emphasise their ‘spatial delight of the building’ and Stirling’s ‘rigorous’ and ‘hand crafted’ designs.

Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society said: “Due to planning disputes, work on site was not begun until 1994, two years after Stirling’s untimely death in 1992. Because of this, some commentators have seen the building as less significant than it would have been had Stirling lived. This letter emphasises Stirling’s personal role and the crucial contribution of a very small team.”

Part of Historic England’s assessment of the historic and architectural special interest of 1 Poultry will be the influence this building has had on British architecture.

Looking at the list of signatories, it is clear that Stirling’s office went on create an influential and important diaspora, applying the intellectual rigour, analysis and attention to detail that they learnt on this project.

We believe 1 Poultry to be one of the most important examples of post – modern architecture in Britain, designed by an outstanding architect of international standing. It is a credit to the success of this building and its carefully crafted design that so many of the original architectural team feel so strongly about the legacy of this building.

1 Poultry is a landmark mixed use office building which incorporates a public internal atrium lined with glazed ceramic tiles that is open to the sky, and a roof top restaurant and landscaped gardens.

It includes ground floor retail with bespoke bowed shop fronts and a covered public shopping ‘arcade’ that would be lost under current proposals to alter the principal facades of the building. In response to the planning application we have submitted an urgent listing application to Historic England.

Note to editors:

No 1 Poultry was designed in 1985-6 and built in 1994-7 to designs by James Stirling Michael Wilford and Associates.

The construction of 1 Poultry, completed after Stirling’s death in 1992, was mired in controversy, largely due to the demolition of 8 listed 19th century buildings that previously occupied the site. After three public inquiries and considerable media attention, construction of No 1 Poultry – which also includes some architectural features of the previous buildings – began in 1994.

Sir James Stirling (22 April 1926 – 25 June 1992) was the principal and founder of the firm James Stirling Michael Wilford and Associates. He became a registered architect in 1952 and won the Alvar Aalto Award in 1977, the RIBA Gold Medal in 1980, the Pritzker Prize in 1981, and the Japanese culture prize ‘Praemium Imperiale’ in 1990. The Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize, is named after James Stirling.

For more information and images, please contact Henrietta Billings, Senior Conservation Adviser, Twentieth Century Society: 0207250 3857

The list of signatories:

Michael Wilford, Partner JSMWAL & MWPL

Laurence Bain, Associate JSMWAL & Partner MWPL 1 Poultry – project architect/ partner

Russell Bevington, Associate JSMWAL & Partner MWPL

Paul Barke-Asuni ARB, JSMWAL 1985-1987, 1991-2000: 1 Poultry – scheme design, planning, design development, working drawings, curtain walling, windows, shopfronts and lift pavilion. Now: Eric Parry Architects

Andrew Birds RIBA, JSMWAL/MWPL 1985 – 1988: 1 Poultry – planning & detail design drawings. Now: Birds Porchmouth Russum Architects

Brian Frost RIBA MWPL 1996-1998: 1 Poultry – site architect. Now: retired

Darren Stewart Capel BA (Hons), Dip Arch(Dist.), Prix de Rome, ARB, RIBA, JSMWAL 1995-1998: 1 Poultry – assistant to project architect, site architect. Now Atelier Capel

Felim Dunne B. Arch (NUI) MRIAI -, JSMWAL 1984-1989: 1 Poultry – design drawings. Now: Director BCDH Architects

Chris Dyson RIAS, RIBA, FRSA, JSMWA/MWP 1989-2000. Now: Principal Chris Dyson Architects LLP

Michele Floyd MWPL 1990 -1994: 1 Poultry-project secretary

Liam Hennessy JSMWAL/MWPL 1992-2000: 1 Poultry -detail design drawings. Now: Liam Hennessy Architect.

Charlie Hussey JSMWAL 1987-1992. Now: Professor Charlie Hussey, Director Sutherland Hussey Harris

John Munro RIAS 1986 -1990: 1 Poultry – Production information. Now: Director Malcolm Fraser Architects

Jess Paul MWPL 1996 -1998: 1 Poultry – project assistant

Richard Porchmouth RIBA JSMWAL/MWPL 1983-1988: 1 Poultry – planning & detail design drawings. Now: Birds Porchmouth Russum Architects

Mike Russum RIBA JSMWA/MWP 1983 -1998: 1 Poultry -planning & detail design drawings. Now: Birds Porchmouth Russum Architects

Manuel Schupp BDA JSMWAL/MWPL/ 1990 – 2000: 1 Poultry – design development. Now: Wilford Schupp Gmbh

Charlie Sutherland RIAS, JSMWAL/MWPL 1985-1992: Now – Sutherland, Hussey and Harris Architects.

Laura Parker, MWPL 1997-2000, Archivist for the James Stirling Foundation, Press & Public Relations for MWPL

Andrew Pryke RIBA, JSMWAL/MWPL 1988-1999, Design & Project Team Leader 1991 – 1997. Now: Managing Director BAM Design

Alison McLellan RIBA, MWP 1994-2000. Now: Director Form art Architects

Jackie Simnett JSMWAL 1983-1986: 1 Poultry – project secretary

Simon Usher RIBA RIAS, MWP Ltd 1993 – 2000: 1 Poultry tender &construction documents. Now: MUMA Architects

Ulrike Wilke B.Arch, M.Arch ARB, JSMWAL 1985 -1988: 1 Poultry concept design. Now: Petersham Assets Ltd.