Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Centre Point

I had the opportunity to walk round the viewing gallery on the 34th floor at the top of the Centre Point Tower in London.

This famous landmark building stands 117m (385ft) tall at the junction of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road. Work started on the tower in 1962, to a design submitted by Richard Robin Seifert & Partners (who went on to build the 43-story Tower 42 - the old Nat west Tower - in 1980).

The following description is taken from

The building was constructed using prefabricated precast-concrete, H-shaped units lifted into position by an internally sited crane designed to rise in height with the building.

The units were bolted to each other and to the concrete floor to become the load-bearing fa├žade of the building. Loads were also designed to be carried by two pairs of precast-concrete columns in the centre of the building.

The architect, Seifert explained that the H-shaped units 'should provide interesting modelling in a self-finished material capable of withstanding the extremes of exposure and the elimination of wet materials will considerably speed up the construction time'.

Centre Point was completed in 1964, offering 180,000 square feet of office space.

This is the view looking west down Oxford Street.

Now looking north north west along Tottenham Court Road. The old Post Office Tower is an obvious landmark together with the Euston Tower in the distance in the centre. The Euston Tower is 124 metres (407 ft) high and was famous as the home of Capital Radio from 1973 until 1997.

Close up of the Post Office or BT Tower.

The website has lots of info about the tower so just a few facts:
Construction of the Tower began in June 1961.
The topping out ceremony took place on 15th July 1964.
The Tower was operationally opened on Friday 8th October 1965 by the Prime Minister (Harold Wilson) making an inaugural telephone call to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.
The main structure is 177 metres (581 ft) tall, with a further section of aerial rigging bringing the total height to 189 metres (620 ft).

The view north east; the tall white building is Senate House of the University of London and the green roof belongs to the British Museum.

The Art Deco Senate House was constructed between 1932 and 1937 as the first phase of a large uncompleted scheme designed for the University of London by Charles Holden. It consists of 19 floors and is 210 feet (64 m) high, making it the second tallest building in London (after St Paul's Cathedral) when it was completed

The British Museum was established in 1753 and it also housed the British Library centred on the Round Reading Room which at 140 feet (43 m) in diameter was then the second widest dome in the world. The departure of the British Library to a new site at St Pancras was finally achieved in 1998. This created the opportunity to redevelop the vacant space in the central quadrangle into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court – the largest covered square in Europe – which opened in 2000 (the green roof).

The view east towards the City of London.

St Pauls Cathedral in the centre and the skyline of the City behind.To the left is the easily recognisable ‘Gherkin’ – see my blog of 15 September last year for views from the top of this skyscraper – and next to it on the left is Tower 42, the old Nat West Tower (183m tall). To the right of St Paul’s and further in the distance is the pyramid peak of One Canada Square at Canary Wharf.

Looking south east the view is more hazy but the Shard (still under construction)is visible in the top left of the picture.

The recently renamed 'EDF Energy' London Eye.

St Patrick’s Catholic church, Soho Square.

The BT Tower framed by the Letter 'R' in the CENTRE POINT logo at the top of the tower.

The Centre Point Tower has stood the test of time well and whilst there are many skyscrapers taller than the tower, it still has a striking presence.

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