Building Study: Bracken House, London, by John Robertson Architects

Bracken House Bracken-House,-Atrium-roof-©-Peter-Cook-CMYK

In its time it has embodied more than one archetype of the City office block, from 1950s solid sandstone to 1980s high-tech glass and steel

Bracken House in the City of London is a handsome relic of a bygone age of office architecture. First completed in 1958, the brick and sandstone block is from a time when the default office model in London’s financial and oldest district was not a faceless glass tower but a solidly muscular mid-rise masonry building whose proportions, detailing and materials expertly evoked the spirit of local urban heritage. 

But it is also a building that has gone through several upheavals, including its reinterpretation as an exemplar of high-tech by Hopkins Architects in the late 1980s. Its latest upheaval is a major refurbishment by John Robertson Architects, aiming to update the building to modern office standards while retaining the uncompromising high-tech character Hopkins bestowed. Critically, it also seeks to foster a more sympathetic connection between the original 1950s block and the phased sequence of new modern interventions. 

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