Postmodernism

Activists hail Arup po-mo’s landmark list | News

The Twentieth Century Society has applauded the government’s decision to grant listing status to Arup Associates’ Lloyds Bank regional center in Bristol, which was built between 1988 and 1991.

Fears for the future of the distinctive crescent-shaped postmodern building were raised after the bank last year announced plans to transfer 2,300 staff to nearby offices, prompting the C20 Society to launch a bid for registration.

Last month the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded Grade II status to the waterfront building, named Canon’s House, based on advice from government heritage adviser Historic England.

C20 Society director Catherine Croft said Canon’s House was a “spectacular and confident building” with a strong public presence.

“It oozes glamor and undercuts any pomp of scale with witty detailing, it’s well worth listing,” she said.

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The three-story colonnaded structure, built at the confluence of the River Avon and the River Frome, stands on the site of two former tobacco warehouses. It was built in two distinct phases: the first was the crescent office building, which created a roughly semi-circular amphitheater, and the second an 80 m diameter rotunda with a landscaped inner courtyard.

The lead architect for the project was Donald Mackay Ferguson.

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The ‘Lloyds Amphitheatre’ already featured a listed 19th century crane base as its focal point and has become a popular venue for outdoor concerts and festivals, fulfilling the original intention of a major new public space for the city.

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said Canon’s house was a ‘striking example’ of post-modern architecture which it was ‘fantastic’ to see listed.

The Historic England listing entry for Canon’s House states that Arup’s design for the building incorporated an “innovative system” for heating and cooling harbor water and that it was the “latest in a series of large bespoke desks” by the firm, which have set new standards in terms of their approach to high quality human design and functionality, innovative service integration and search for energy efficiency.

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