|Located in the heart of the City in one of the oldest districts, this building was designed to echo the curves of the original Roman/medieval streets. Still, it is a futuristic building commissioned by the staid insurance company for an area occupied by banks, brokerage firms, and other solid financial institutions. It was designed immediately following Rogers' radical Pompidou Centre in Paris, designed in collaboration with Renzo Piano. Although Rogers rejects the designation, architecture historians continue to classify his works, along with those of Sir Norman Foster as "High Tech." This categorization makes sense given the fact that Roger believes that a building should appear to be assembled from a "kit of parts," that services and circulation are obvious and accessible at in the six towers on the periphery of the structure, and that his works are often clad in materials evoking the machine age--in this case the stainless steel of the elegant towers and the glass of the atrium rising the full height of the building and terminating in a glazed barrel vault.|
The building is 12 stories to the North and six stories toward the smaller buildings to the South. Inside, twelve sixteen metre wide concentric galleries overlook the central atrium. Offices are open-plan with views out to the city or, perhaps more disconcerting, inside to fellow workers. With all service functions moved to the periphery, there are interior expanses of flexible space.
Views of the baseBanks of elevator shafts are on the left. Glazed and on the exterior of the building, they provides spectacular views of the surroundings. Other service elements--plumbing, kitchens, fire stairs, air-conditioning and ventilation ducts are housed in the external towers, making maintenance and eventual updating easier.
The top and looking up
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