- Categories Arts & Culture, Workplace, Housing
- Clients Tishman Speyer
- Project Team Deborah Saunt, Martin Pearson, Eleanor Alexander, Claire Natusch, Sanket Ghatalia, Rob Eaton, Michael O'Hanlon, Samuel Myatt
WAF 2017, Shortlisted
RA Summer Exhibition, 2017 – 'The Economist Building'
Completed by Alison and Peter Smithson in 1964 for the Economist and acquired by Tishman Speyer in 2016, the Economist Plaza has now been renamed ‘Smithson Plaza’ in honour of the original architects.
DSDHA are proud to be restoring this iconic complex: one of London’s most significant urban landmarks and public spaces; widely appreciated internationally as a triumph of post-war British Brutalist architecture. We have been working with the new owners to enhance the Plaza's celebrated spatial qualities and provide new contemporary, sustainable and flexible workspaces as well as a major new art gallery.
The Grade II* listed complex comprises an elegant raised pedestrian plaza around which three finely detailed buildings are organised: the 15-storey Economist Tower, the 5-storey Bank Building and the 8-storey Residential Building.
Having considered the impact of incremental changes since 1964 – the Smithsons themselves made alterations to their project prior to SOM architects’ major reworking in 1990 – DSDHA have developed a phased restoration strategy, which addresses the complexity of the site and brings it up to date. Our interventions have been guided by a rigorous methodology, devised in conversation with distinguished scholars and experts and informed by extensive historical research and in-depth forensic investigations on the fabric of the Plaza.
More radical proposals compliment a careful restoration of the complex that reverses some of the changes made in the 90s and deviating from the Smithsons' original design intent. By rationalising the rooftop plant, modernising the services infrastructure and reconfiguring redundant spaces, the project can fund the restoration and increase the opportunity for public amenity; including improved pedestrian access to the raised Plaza from Bury St and the creation of a elegant gallery space in the former basement carpark.
Structural Engineer: Campbell Reith
Cost Consultant: Mace
Planning Consultant: DP9
Heritage Consultant: Heritage Collective
Services Engineer: Sweco