Petershill House in the City of London, facing the south side of St Paul’s Cathedral, was won in a limited competition in 1989 run by the developers MEPC.
The building was designed as a simple solid block gradually cut away and eroded by the various forces acting on it, including the historic street lines, vistas to nearby landmarks, and shifts in scale between the neighbouring buildings.
The scheme reinstates the grain of the traditional urban street pattern, but is not seen as simply a neutral backdrop to the architecture of Wren’s Cathedral. Its dramatic central atrium space makes a powerful statement in its own right – an elegant elliptical cylinder of space which would have produced a memorable urban event.
Rather than creating an underground coach park as suggested by the City Corporation, we proposed re-erecting Temple Bar, the historic gateway building removed from Fleet Street in 1878 and left rotting in a Hertfordshire field. The structure would have screened a new coach park on the south side of St Paul’s.