Sunday, 22 November 2009

B&B02: Friday November 20th 2009; Sampson House, 64 Hopton Street, London SE1, Fitzroy Robinson Architects

This was actually the second choice for this months B&B, the first being the charming Mondial House on Upper Thames Street, which turned out already to have been raised to the ground. See here for the full, gruesome story. Not that Sampson House suffers by comparison.

A true mega-structure, it's about as big as the Bankside Power Station if you look at it it from space - and oozes unexpectedly, eerily, out between much lower buildings on the Southwark Street side.

The Pompidou in Paris was being built around the same time and they have a similar, alien, presence at ground level - which is interesting considering their utterly different ambitions - but rather than Pompidou's oil rig chic, SH presents as a massive gothic fortress....with acres of lead sheet, arrow slit windows and soaring ribbed concrete towers at each end...all handled with great gusto and creating - particularly at night, a rather mysterious and dreamlike effect.

image courtesy of Stephen Richards

B&B01: Friday October 16th 2009:
66 St.James's Street, London SW1, Tripos Architects

The Brutalist connection here being that it was designed by Rodney Gordon, architect of much fine, derided and increasingly, demolished, true Brutalism (Tricorn Centre, Trinity Square Car Park etc). See here for a good Gordon primer - sadly his obituary.