RIBA Award

7-8 St James's Square, London | Eric Parry Architects

The site strategy is a model of confident leadership in its urban planning and architecture. The decision to build lower than the previous building - for the compositional benefit of the square and the immediate neighbour, is both enlightened and canny, delivering a sensitive ensemble with an increased net area of fine quality space.

This is a wonderfully crafted building that sits well within a sensitive context. The materiality of the building is both playful yet respectful to its surroundings, the varying scales and window types are a bold, brave move that illustrate masterful skill and original thinking. There are many beautiful, subtle details, such as the tilting glass in the windows and the granite surrounds to the ground floor windows.

The complex brief and vast subterranean programme is deftly handled. The lift shaft with a backdrop of a marble wall creates a clever connection between the different floors whilst bringing light down the central core of the building. Although each tenant will have individual identities within the offices themselves, the lift lobbies unify the different levels of the building.

The entrance veers away from the traditional office lobby by being space that is intimate and hospitable. There is also a sense of connection to the street both from within and without. Again, a sense of playfulness can be seen within the space, with wicker shutters integrated into the window reveals allowing for different configurations and a changing relationship to the street. Commissioned artworks are included in the building elevation in a way that is bold and highly personal yet convincing as city architecture.

This large building is nicely reticent, beautifully tailored, spirited and full of the deep personal commitment of a sensitive architect.

Source: RIBA