Monday, 7 October 2013

Keybridge House

Thanks to Anonymous for alerting us to the proposed demolition of Keybridge House.

Anyone wanting to object pls. feel free to cut and paste the pure poetry of our objection below.  The application can be viewed here but you have to register to comment or see other comments.

"We object to the proposed development on the grounds that insufficient information has been included to support the applicants assertion that the retention of some or all of the existing buildings is not a viable option.

Existing plans and cross sections should be provided and sufficient time allowed for the assessment of these drawings in relation to the applicant’s arguments against the buildings re-use.

Also, within the documentation, reference is made to studies carried out to investigate the re-use of the existing tower and podium and we ask that any drawings produced as part of this study be made available for consideration.

We also object to the development on the grounds that insufficient weight has been given to the quality of the existing building and its historic significance to the surrounding area.

Stylistically Keybridge House combined elements of the Commercial, Brutalist and Hi-Tech architecture of its day.

It's Brutalist part manifests in the unmediated street level presence, the use of exposed concrete and the deep modelling of facades and building elements.  The expressed external ducting and bright corrugated stainless steel cladding echo the kit-of-parts aesthetic of the Hi-Tech movement whilst the podium and tower arrangement of the principal volumes is typical of much commercial development of the period.

All of these elements are confidently synthesised into a coherent composition on a grand scale, with strong sculptural qualities and dynamic forms.  It is of robust construction, well detailed and highly specified.

It was built with two equally ambitious central London telephone exchanges (Mondial House and Burne House) and, locally, formed part of an inner city landscape of technologically advanced light industrial or commercial buildings such as the New Covent Garden Market and the HMSO building on Nine Elms Lane, which brought decades of activity and large scale employment to the area and came to define it’s character over a certain period of its history.

This history forms a real connection between the building and its surrounding streets and communities – a connection unaffected by subjective or populist arguments about permeability or the appropriateness of architectural style and this, combined with the buildings inherent quality, should be carefully weighed against the supposed economic imperatives for demolition, or any practical difficulties of its re-use.

For further information, commentary and images related to Keybridge House, please see our weblog post  "