88 Wood Street by Richard Rogers
by Don Barker
Wood Street, a relatively low-profile area within the east-central business district of London, is just emerging from its latest architectural makeover. The newest building is an important addition to the skyline designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership (RRP).
If there was one place in London to view a brief history of British architecture and the way in which one generation has reacted against the next, this street, on part of London Wall, provides the best illustration.
Wood Street also presents an opportunity to view the contrasting styles of modern architects at different stages in their respective careers.
Wood Street through History
The Romans originally created Wood Street as a parade ground for a fort just outside the city wall. It is next to a church tower designed by Christopher Wren, which is all that remains of a building that started out as the royal chapel of the Saxon kings and was partly destroyed in World War II.
There is also a police station built in the early 1960s by McMorran and Whitby, in a 1930s stripped-back classicism style.
In between the Terry Farrell & Partners-designed 1980s art deco Alban Gate at one end of the street and a Foster and Partners-designed block of financial trading rooms at the other stands RRP's first City building since the controversial Lloyd's Building in 1986.