When Mirror Group Newspapers moved its presses from Holborn Circus to London’s Docklands, the opportunity arose to replace the outdated eleven-storey 1960s building with a lower structure, which while modern in detail and spirit is also sensitive to the traditional urban grain and the conservation issues of this historical area. Located pivotally between the City and the West End, the building restores the strategic view of St Paul’s Cathedral from Primrose Hill and forms a symbolic gateway on High Holborn at the City’s western edge.
The new building has eight storeys of flexible office accommodation, designed to respond to changing work patterns and new developments in information technology. The office floors look into a full-height glazed atrium, which opens out onto Holborn Circus through a dramatic curved glass facade, allowing views deep into the heart of the building. Within the atrium, which is to be animated by a site-specific sculpture, is a six-storey glass staircase suspended from slender steel rods; weighing 70 tonnes, it is one of the largest glass stairs ever made.
The choice of materials for the facades – granite and reconstituted stone – respects the traditional use of masonry in the neighbouring buildings. A glass floor at the entrance to the building admits daylight to the basement, which provides leisure facilities including a gymnasium, a restaurant and auditorium. And at street level the building welcomes the working community with shops, cafés and bars.