Working Spaces: the Office Buildings of the 80s, Theme and Variations


Having built many distinguished office buildings, Foster Associates were considered specialists in the type, and the booming eighties brought several commissions. After the cancellation of the BBC project, the Mexican Televisa headquarters would have applied the knowledge gained into the workings of a TV company, but the job was also discontinued; the horizontal scheme used cantilevered vaults over a hypostile space similar to Stansted’s, with sculptural concrete shells echoed in later projects like Canary Wharf Station. Meanwhile, the offices in Stockley Park, near Heathrow, were completed in only nine months, and this speed is perhaps to blame for the trivial elegance of this tensioned frame which fuses the structural concept of Televisa with the expressionism of Renault. Almost also a fast track work, Tokyo’s Century Tower was a remake of Hong Kong’s, with half the height, an exposed structure mimicking the traditional torii gateway, and a huge vertical lobby showing every other floor suspended from the bridge frame, with the services in peripheral towers leaving clear floor plates. Again built within a year for the Stockley developer, the ITN headquarters in London is an urban glass box, toplit through a full-height stepped atrium that creates a spectacular central void...[+]

Included Tags: