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Inspired by the tradition of Italian palazzi, our design provides state-of-the-art new offices while respecting the heritage of the original Albert Richardson-designed building.
Located on a sensitive site near to St Paul’s Cathedral, the building consisted of two office wings flanking a printing works, which had become obsolete. Our reworking replaced this central section with a new, deep-plan office block and refurbished the offices on either side. The pink sandstone plinth of the original continues across the new façade, linking the old and new. Its elliptical form recalls Guarino Guarini’s Palazzo Carignano in Turin, which Richardson also evoked in his original design.
Arranged around a rectangular, top-lit central atrium and lift tower, the new block has clear-span office floors, with all WCs, escape staircases and service risers relocated into the flanking offices. Raised floors accommodate air conditioning ducts and cabling, enabling the ceilings to be exposed, their reinforced concrete structure clearly visible. Light fittings are recessed in areas of suspended ceiling between the structural beams. By avoiding suspended ceilings, an extra floor was achieved within the same height restrictions.
A three storey basement houses a dealing room as well as car parking and plant rooms.
The load-bearing gunmetal and glass façade of the new block comprises four-storey bays with frameless windows. These are supported by tripartite bronze castings resting on the piers of the stone plinth. Above the bays, a recessed attic floor completes the composition of base, piano nobile and attic. While referencing the essence of classical palazzo design in this way, the redevelopment creates contemporary offices suitable for a modern financial institution.
Listed Grade II in 1987, Bracken House was upgraded to Grade II* listed in 2013.