Responding to a prestigious location in the corner of one of London’s most important squares, the project was an opportunity to create a new city block that would define the square’s enclosure and provide flexible, light-filled office space for a dynamic media corporation.
50 Finsbury Square’s pivotal location at the south west corner of the square, at the entry to the City of London, presented the possibility of making an exemplary city block, both terminating the enclosure to the square and marking the transition from square to city. The demolition of the two existing buildings gave the amalgamated site street exposure on three facades.
Its situation on the square carried with it some of the most prescriptive planning constraints in London, including cornice and height limitations, and the requirement for a stone building to suit the character of the existing traditional buildings.
The solution employs stone to make a structural frame and infill tramsoms, forming a semi-transparent cube that wraps around and screens the glass office building it encloses. This stone exoskeleton is punctuated on Finsbury Square by two key spaces. At ground level a double height entrance is formed by a diagonal stone wall leading from the corner to the entrance lobby. At the top of the building, the required setback has been exploited to make a double height terrace with commanding views of the square.
Behind the screen is a modern office building, with 18 metre wide floor plates on the three sides facing the street. The fourth side has the cores pushed against the party wall.
The C-shaped plan form follows the natural splay of the streets, giving the central atrium a dynamic plan shape. This is complimented by its roof, which curves away from the adjacent building to avoid taking its light. The space is punctuated with glass bridges, which complete the circulation route for the office floors while providing the lighting fixtures for the space at night.
Construction start: 1998
Area: 17 000 m²
Client: Standard Life Investments
Structural Engineer: Waterman Partnership
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon & Everest
M+E Engineer: Roger Preston and Partners
Landscape Architect: Charles Funke Associates
Lighting Engineer: Claude Engle
Additional Consultants: Lerch Bates & Associates, Schal International Management,