Buildings: City of London Police Station, Wood Street

November 10, 2017

McMorran and Whitby’s City of London Police Station (1965) appears like an architectural missing link. The rustication of its lower façade and oversized chimney-like ventilation shafts are strangely non-zeitgeist, and the proportional arrangement of the window openings willfully rhythmic. The 19-story tower has been influenced by the vernacular design of a typical brick warehouse. The building is a nod towards post-modernism, a stylistic memorial to London’s historic architecture and industrial past. 

 

David McMorran led the design, in fact it was the last building he worked on before his death. It is regarded as his masterpiece and is said to have been influenced in style by 16th Century Venetian mannerist, Michele Sanmicheli. His favourite renaissance architect. Internally, the complex layout provides for a diverse array of uses, including stables, a museum and Turkish baths. The tower contains flats, accommodation for the City's policemen and women.

 

Despite the building being Grade II* Listed, a controversial planning application to extend the residential accommodation with a new adjacent tower, connected with a full height glass circulation corridor has recently been consented by the City of London. I personally regret this decision, as I believe this building to be one of the most interesting set-pieces of post-war architecture to be found in the City. However, it's difficult to be too put out: the original plans also generated great controversy, as they required the partial demolition of two Wren churches, St Mary Aldermanbury, and St Albans on Wood Street. The tower of St Albans remains as an eccentric London office in the middle of Wood Street, whilst at St Mary Aldermanbury was demolished and rebuilt at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A remembrance garden remains in its place.

 

 

 

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