Eyesore or beauty? The 14 postwar office blocks listed by English Heritage

Emma Haslett
Follow Emma

Whether you're a fan or take an altogether more "Prince Charles" attitude to post-war architecture, office buildings provide some of the finest examples of it.

And turns out English Heritage thinks it's worth preserving: the organisation has listed 14 of the UK's best-loved (or most-hated) post-war offices.

According to English Heritage, the buildings - which include the glass-and-steel One Finsbury Avenue, and the concrete offices of private bank Brown Shipley - "have ensured that this area of architectural achievement is recognised for future generations".

Here are the offices included - plus, at the bottom, those consigned to carbuncle obscurity.

1. Brown Shipley, Moorgate

Construction on the office, designed by Fitzroy Robinson & Partners, began in 1973

2. 30 Cannon Street, London

This space-age building, formerly the headquarters of Credit Lyonnais, was built in 1974, designed by Winney, Son & Austen Hall.

3. 1 Finsbury Avenue, City of London

Designed by Arup Associates, this UBS office was completed in 1984.

4. Space House, Kingsway

Now known as the rather less exciting-sounding Civil Aviation Authority House, this brutalist edifice was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners, and completed in 1968

5. Gateway House, Basingstoke

They don't call it "Amazingstoke" for nothing: later renamed Mountbatten House, this design, by Arup Associates, was completed in 1976. Its roof garden has also been Grade II listed.

6. IBM Pilot head office, Cosham

A classic example of 1970s architecture, this office was designed by Foster Associates, and completed in 1971.

7. Gun Wharf, Chatham

Never one to shy away from controversial architecture, Lloyd's of London was the original occupier for Gun Wharf, which was designed by Arup Associated and finished in 1978. These days, it's home to Medway Council.

8. Ryder and Yates, Newcastle

Not one for opponents of concrete, the former offices of architects Ryder and Yates, which also designed the building, was completed in 1965.

9. MEA House, Newcastle

Another Ryder and Yates classic, the Queen opened this office block in 1974. Last year, it celebrated its 40th anniversary.

10. Bank House, King Street

Designed by the Building Design Partnership in 1969, Bank House is now home to Axa and law firm Walker Morris.

11. Midland Bank, Liverpool

With its futuristic pyramid-shaped windows, Bradshaw, Rowse & Harker's design became the subject of fierce debate when it opened in 1971.

12. St James' House, Birmingham

With its panelled walls, this design, by John Madin, is an example of early post-war offices. It was completed in 1957.

13. Alpha Tower, Birmingham

Once home to Birmingham City Council, Brum's tallest office building was designed by Richard Seifert & Partners, and completed in 1972.

14. The Pavilions, Bristol

Once home to the Central Electricity Generating Board, this squat building was designed by Arup Associates, finished in 1978.

And those that missed out on listed status...

  • Tower 42 (Natwest Tower), London, Richard Seifert & Partners, 1973-81
  • Bush Lane House, 80 Cannon Street, London, Arup Associates, 1972-76
  • 150 Leadenhall Street & 6-8 Bishopsgate, London, GMW Partnership, 1974-78 & 1977-81
  • Gateway Two, Belvedere House, Basingstoke, Arup Associates, 1981-82
  • PA Technology and Science Centre, Melbourn, Hertfordshire, Piano & Rogers, 1974-75, 1982-84
  • Newspaper House, Oxford, Arup Associates, 1969-71
  • Neville House, Birmingham, John Madin, 1975-76
  • Natwest, Colmore Road, Birmingham, John Madin, 1969

Related articles