Bracken House's existing building had two wings of office space flanking a central printing works. When the production method of printing newspapers changed, this function was moved out to the Docklands and spacious modern offices were needed instead. Our proposal drew on the tradition of Italian palazzi, enhancing the historic setting of the building in the City of London.

The printing works were replaced with a new block linking into the refurbished office wings. It continues the pink sandstone plinth of the original, and its elliptical form allows new build and old to merge seamlessly. The entrance is moved to the centre of this new block. From here the foyer leads to a central atrium, whose vertical circulation core animates views across the clear-span, office floors. The integration of structure and services eliminates ceiling voids, allowing an extra floor to be planned within local height restrictions.

The central block has load-bearing metal-and-glass facades. Tri-partite bronze castings rest on the stone piers, supporting the gunmetal structural bays, which extend four stories high, and from which the frameless windows hang.

Above is a recessed attic floor, completing the composition of base, piano nobile and attic - the essence of classical palazzo design, made suitable for a modern financial institution.


  • Location London, United Kingdom
  • Value £70 million
  • Size 26,000 m²
  • Client Obayashi Corporation Europe BV
  • Year 1992

Selected Awards

  • Civic Trust Award
  • Financial Times: Building of the Year Award (Finalist)
  • City Heritage Award
  • British Construction Industry Award
  • RIBA National Award
  • RIBA Regional Award