2.5 Devonshire Place - Premier Place
Contractor Carillion Building Ltd
Photos: P. Cook/ View
Within the London square mile stand the new headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the most recent testimony to the new style of the Bennetts Associates studio; this supports the technological complexity of the structural parts forming the architectural work, with the stylistic simplicity of forms.
The fullness of the visible steel bearing structure, the fluidity of the perspectives presented by the awnings, the colours of the stone facing and the purity of the glass units make the geometry of the external casing simple and recognizable, giving the architecture a distinct identity. The building reveals its metal framework with wide glass surfaces reminiscent of Le Corbusier: what make up exemplary geometry on the outside become in the structural details refinement, technology and calculated definition with attention to the smallest detail.
English high-tech writes another chapter of its history here in which simplicity and complexity find a delicate balance.
A large part of the entire casing is characterized by glass units set in the framework of steel bearing beams and columns protected against fire by 100mm-thick stainless steel panels (1 hour’s fire resistance) over an overall area of 2200 square metres. The aluminium profiles have been extruded for the occasion leaving, as requested by the architects, an external 22 mm for vertical and horizontal fins for setting the glass. This facing is crowned by “bays” consisting of units with gaps between (1600 x 3800mm) with a string-course band consisting of an aluminium case. The introduction of light into the rooms on the South elevation is mitigated by the structural sun protectors, which can be crossed for inspection and cleaning, consisting of vertical aluminium plates 5.5 ml [sic - Translator] high.
The solution adopted for the glass corners of the building consists of 3900 x 2400mm units anchored on three sides and free on the external edge so as not to compromise the passage of light from outside. Inside the glass chamber, there is space for an “internal blind” system, i.e. Venetian blinds that can be directed by means of a magnetic operating system.
The glass architecture is mounted on façade fins consisting of variable units (max 1700 x 505mm) of shot Visag Blu Indian granite 40mm thick anchored with kerf-type clamps that are not visible as the open escape is only 6mm. The stones, individually removable, have opposite grains for each floor and are pre-assembled at the corners so as to give the impression of a solid continuum. All the façades listed are of dimensions sufficient to withstand an external pressure of 276kg per square metre, either of wind pressure or a possible conventional bomb blast.
Bennetts Associates Architects
Bennetts Associates, with offices in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, is one of UK’s leading architectural practices, with a reputation for design, delivery and sustainability across a wide range of sectors and architectural classifications. A strong team ethic and methodical approach to design has earned the firm over 150 awards for many design works across Europe. The firm was founded by Rab Bennetts and his partner Denise Bennetts in 1987. Rab Bennetts takes a personal, hands-on approach and collaborative spirit with each project, playing an active role in the firm’s multitude of design projects and construction.