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June 8, 2009

The dark knights return: four profoundly unfashionable buildings in London.

Number One, Poultry, is an office and retail corner block at the heart of the City of London by James Stirling, first designed in 1985, but only completed posthumously by Michael Wilford in 1997. It is a good and interesting building, publicly permeable, multi-layered, the antidote to most commercial speculations of the time. But it is also 1980s post-modern (PoMo) in style. The style is not yet old enough to have come back into favour. So the big fat Pharaonic hen of Poultry – look, you can see the folded wings, and its beak, and it sits on a circular nest – must bide its time. It is generally regarded as a late aberration by a once-great architect. Besides, the design replaced an unbuilt slab by Mies van der Rohe, an architect openly worshipped by devotees. No, it is just not done, to like Number One Poultry.

Hughpearman.com

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