City Place House

An email from an ever-vigilant neighbour alerted me to the Planning Application for City Place House and the adjacent tower, City Tower. This application is currently under consideration. I hastened to go and have a look at the buildings, before they get swathed in white plastic.

City Tower has been there since 1967. It is going to have its lower floors redeveloped but will remain standing. However the more recent City Place House, completed in 1992, is going to be demolished and replaced.

City Place House is a post-modern block of 10 storeys, 8 above ground. It currently houses 1750 workers in 176 600 sq ft. It is going to be replaced by a higher and wider building, which will more than double the capacity, housing 4000 workers in 320 000 sq ft, by more efficient servicing. This is according to the planning application: 21/00116/FULMAJ, “Statement of Community Involvement”. My neighbour comments, “The City’s unerring confidence that numbers of office workers will rebound back to and then exceed previous levels continues to amaze and baffle me given the growing pile of evidence to the contrary. However, that may just be me…”. I have to agree.

Here is what it looks like now:

City Place House from the podium level near the former “Jamies” restaurant. The building to the right, wrapped in plastic, is Brewers Hall.

Here’s a map, also from the planning application. London Wall Place is the building on the left hand side of my drawing.

The line of sight of my drawing is shown by the blue arrow.

City Tower is in the background of my drawing, It is interesting because it is one of the last two towers in a grand design. The other tower still standing is Bastion House. The post war development plan had six towers along London Wall:

“In 1954, frustrated at the contemporary efforts of largely piecemeal reconstruction, a group calling itself ‘The New Barbican Committee,’ headed by architect Sergei Kadleigh, unveiled a plan of comprehensive redevelopment on the long derelict site north of St Paul’s. The scheme proposed a vast network of interlocking hexagonal structures of towers and decks over the 40-acre site owned by the City Corporation. This utopian mega structure proved hugely influential and by 1955 a collaborative scheme of comprehensive redevelopment was unveiled by the City’s head of planning H.A. Mealand and the LCC’s Leslie Martin.”

“Six towers of identical proportion, sit at equal distance from one another at 45 degrees to the street on a raised pedestrian deck with lower slab blocks at right angles. It was a monumental scheme and owed much to Le Corbusier’s 1933 ‘La Ville Radieuse’ in its geometric vision. It was characterised by generous public spaces and the complete segregation of traffic and pedestrian flows of circulation. It was anticipated that these ‘ped-ways,’ would eventually be expanded to provide a City-wide network.” (SOURCE: ©2007 www.postwarbuildings.com)

The six towers, their original names, and their fates1:

LONDON WALL (NORTH-SIDE, WEST TO EAST)  

Bastion House, 140 London Wall, EC2 1976: Completed. Still standing: Now known as 140 London Wall.  

Lee House, 125 London Wall, EC2: 1962: Completed. 1988-92: Replaced by Alban Gate. Now known as 125 London Wall.  

St Alphage House, 2 Fore Street, EC2: 1962: Redeveloped as 1 and 2 London Wall Place

Moor House, 120 London Wall, EC2: 1961: Completed. 2002-05: Demolished in 2001 and replaced by a new Moor House.  

LONDON WALL (SOUTH-SIDE, WEST TO EAST)  

Royex House, 5 Aldermanbury Square, EC2: 1962: Completed. Replaced in 2008 by 5 Aldermanbury Square, EC2.  

Britannic House, 40 Basinghall Street, EC2: 1964: Completed. Still standing: Refurbished as City Tower in 1990.

The building which will replace City Place House will look like this. These are drawings from the planning application. City Tower is in the background, its shape is unchanged from now. There will be a new bridge across Basinghall Street. Demolition is due to start soon: 2022. The highwalk route will be out of service until 2025.

1Additional information from https://www.skyscrapercity.com/threads/various-london-wall.239763/page-17#post-12963051

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