15, Clerkenwell Close

I was rootling round Clerkenwell Green earlier in the year when I came across 15, Clerkenwell Close, a curious and unexpected new building development, fairly conventional in its overall architectural form, but highly unusual in having a secondary, load-bearing structure made out of rough-cut French limestone, looking as if it has recently emerged, which it has, from the quarry.   This building has since then become a cause célèbre because Islington Council has asked for the building to be demolished on the grounds that it does not in all respects meet the original planning permission.   It seems that the Council failed to upload the approved revisions to the original planning permission and neighbours objected.   Now the Council has acknowledged that the stone façade was approved, but is still asking for the entire building to be demolished.  It feels like a test for taste.   Is an architect nowadays allowed to make an emphatic architectural statement or must everything be politely clothed in brick, as has become the default position for the new urban vernacular ?  What is obvious having now looked at the building more carefully is how serious it is:  a considered statement of stone construction, not just playful, and very beautifully detailed:-

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4 thoughts on “15, Clerkenwell Close

  1. Jane Raven says:

    Ah ha! I saw it just yesterday and was wondering about the ‘window frames’. Great building in a great area. I’m hoping to spend more time here.

  2. Pam Roberts says:

    I too love this building & have gone out of my way to walk past it this year. There is also a small and charming garden. The architect & his family also live there so I hope these recent problems can be overcome.

  3. We are led to believe that this ridiculous situation has developed from a spat between the Architect and the Councillor, who may or may not be the chair of the local planning committee. It represent an headline grabbing example of a situation which pertains all over the country and is utterly ridiculous and leads to all sorts of dreariness and ugliness in new building developments. There MUST be a better way.!

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