The refurbishment of a distinctive 1960s slab and plinth building on Tottenham Court Road.
Metropolis House was built in 1965, an optimistic time for British architecture with designers drawing from models of American city-building to make dramatic urban interventions. Like many of its London contemporaries, the architecture of this large and confident building was inspired by the Lever Building in New York. A commanding ten-storey tower slab is humanised in scale by a four-storey plinth which matches the height of the houses in the adjoining Charlotte Street conservation area. Despite these striking qualities, the building was very tired by the time it was acquired by Great Portland Estates in early 2002, and required a thorough reinvigoration to restore its former poise.
Orms’ refurbishment – which has repositioned the development as ‘Metbuilding’ – has reinforced the external architectural composition of the building, with a new unitised curtain wall wrapping under the Portland stone surround of the original slab, and transforming the interior to provide uncompromisingly modern office space. The composition at plinth level has been altered to double the amount of available office area, and these spaces – and those in the tower above – have been improved with a more sophisticated building envelope, better ceiling heights and updated facilities such as lifts, WCs and an entrance hall. The sympathetic treatment has ensured that the building continues to sit respectfully in this sensitive location, the plinth mediating between the tower and neighbouring street frontages.