Buildings on a Building: Henrietta House, Marylebone

Off Oxford Street and venturing into the realms of Marylebone, I looked up to find some buildings upon a building.

Henrietta House

Henrietta House is an office building designed by Christopher Haddon and is the current HQ of CBRE, a property services firm who’ve been there since 2011.

Built in the 1990s, Lazari Investors who own the building, commissioned the sculptor Keir Smith to decorate the building’s facade with a frieze tracing the history of architecture in Britain.

Henrietta House

That’s why, if you walk around the building, you’ll spot a variety of different structures, rendered in Portland Stone along the first floor.

Henrietta House

Nearby, there’s another building of note. And it’s worth pointing out because its current predicament is somewhat ironic given the celebration of architecture at Henrietta House.

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Further down the street is Brutalist marvel; Welbeck Street Carpark.

Henrietta House

I appreciate it’s not everyone’s cup of tea aesthetically, but even if you’re not a fan of Brutalist architecture, I think you can at least admire the geometric forms.

I mention it too because it’s under threat.

Built in the 1970s and designed by Michael Blampied and Partners. It was sold in 2016 to Shiva Hotels for around £100m. Despite its striking design, it doesn’t meet the listings requirements for Historic England, so was approved for demolition by Westminster Council.

Judging by initial architectural plans by Eric Parry Architects, none of the original building’s features will be kept in the new hotel plan.

However, an alternative plan by JAA architects has been submitted as part of a campaign to keep the carpark’s features. The Twentieth Century Society is supporting this design as part of its ‘Diamonds are Forever’ campaign against demolition.

Henrietta House

Image by Theo Simpson for JAA. From Dezeen.

I’ve always found that the joy of London is the mix of old and new. So, just as we should save the centuries-old historic buildings, we also have a duty to maintain and keep newer buildings of architectural note.

What do you reckon? Is it worth saving?

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Henrietta House

2 Comments

  • Hannah Casey

    Reply

    I do so love architecture and love learning about different aspects!! Love the frieze and it’s a link to where I live which is Swanage, Dorset as Portland is just up the road! There is a lot of Purbeck stone in London…..sure you probably know about George Burt and the link with Swanage and the Ciry of London?

    Love the mix between old and new in London….though the new does seem to be dwarfing the old as I come into Waterloo by train

    Really enjoy your newsletters and hope to join a walk someday

    Hannah

    January 31, 2018 at 8:09 am

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