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.

Get the latest London secrets to your email
See the city from a new angle, discovering little things you miss everyday and get the latest news about upcoming tours.
Once a week. No spam, just inspiration.
Your details will never be shared with any 3rd parties

Also look out for…

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?

More London Inspiration

  • M&S Oxford Street | Pantheon History Look Up London

    M&S Oxford Street | The Former Pantheon

    Oxford Street has a bad rep from Londoners, but there’s a surprising among of fabulous history if you know where to look. From a hidden little oasis to the more gruesome reminders at Tottenham Court Road and Marble Arch, often you have to look up......

  • bull and mouth coaching inn

    The Bull and Mouth: A Lost London Coaching Inn

    By the Museum of London you can see an amazing little clue to uncover the history of the Bull and Mouth Coaching Inn...

  • Inside Crosby Moran Hall | Look Up London

    Inside Crosby Moran Hall

    I’m constantly surprised by the wonderful doors that have opened since starting this blog back in 2015. A case in point was that a few weeks ago I wrote about the extraordinary history of Crosby Hall; the Medieval Mansion that was moved 5 miles across......

  • Putney Bridge WWII Pillbox | Look Up London

    A WWII Relic at Putney Bridge Station

    If you look up along Ranelagh Gardens, atop the railway viaduct for Putney Bridge Tube Station, you can spy a curious WWII Relic; a Pillbox. This concrete pillbox was erected in 1940 across Britain, a final line of defence should Germany invade during WWII. They......

  • Lavers and Barraud Stained Glass Works | Look Up London

    Lavers and Barraud Stained Glass Works

    Look up at 22 Endell Street in Covent Garden, and you’ll see the striking facade of a former stained glass studio. Built in 1859 and designed by Robert Jewell Withers, between the multi-coloured decorative brickwork you can make out the proclamation in stone; Lavers and......

  • Museum of London Smithfield Site

    Behind The Scenes at the new Museum of London Smithfield Site

    The London Museum – formerly Museum of London – is scheduled to open for a mini festival in 2025 then fully as a museum in 2026. So you can imagine my excitement when I was invited to get a special look around the building site......

Henrietta House


  • Hannah Casey


    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


    January 31, 2018 at 8:09 am

Post a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.