Over the past nine months I’ve been shooting a variety of demolition projects for specialist contractor General Demolition. And very interesting the projects are too. Not just because of the complex engineering and planning involved, but also because of the rare chance it affords to visit buildings that are normally off-limits to the general public.
A recent highlight was a visit to the former Midland Bank headquarters on London’s Poultry, designed by architect Edwin Lutyens. An image from this shoot has been featured as my “Eyewitness” spread in the latest issue of FX magazine.
The exterior plus extensive areas of the interior of 27 Poultry – the former headquarters of the Midland Bank – are grade 1 listed, which means that strip-out work needs to progress with utmost care and sensitivity, working in close co-operation with the building’s owner, architect EPR and English Heritage. Much of the interior is being preserved in-situ, while some listed elements are being removed and carefully stored, to be reinstated at a later date. Unlisted parts of the building are being “soft stripped” back to the original concrete shell prior to conversion.
The building dates from the 1920s and is regarded as one of Lutyens’ masterpieces. It features an vast ornate banking hall, the safe deposit vault that featured in the James Bond film Goldfinger shown above, not to mention a magnificent tapestry-lined boardroomPlans for the building include its transformation into a seven-star hotel, or conversion to offices, restaurants and bars.
The seven month project is due to be completed in September.