Central St. Giles - London, UK

Renzo Piano
Date Built
May 2010
High Holborn and Dyott Street
Central Saint Giles is a speculative development of office space, apartments, restaurants, and cafés arranged around an internal piazza.  Designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, responsible for Paris' Pompidou Centre and The Shard, it provides a splash of vivid colour beside Centre Point and close to the busy junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.

The £450million complex comprises 408,000 square feet of office space, 10 restaurants and retail units and 109 apartments.   It also offers 17,000 square feet of roof terraces.  The facades are clad with 134,000 brightly coloured glazed tiles.  With sustainability the watch-word today, Central Saint Giles claims an excellent BREEAM rating.  80% of the heat used in the building coming from renewable biomass sources.  60% of the rainwater falling on the roofs and the piazza will be collected and reused.

In an article in The Observer, dated April 4, 2010, Rowan Moore says this of Piano and his creation, "Piano has usually traded in highly crafted refinement, working in a palette of white, silver, grey or at most the natural colours of terracotta or wood. He did co-design the Pompidou Centre in Paris with Richard Rogers, but it always seemed that that building's bursts of primaries came from his ebullient British partner (Richard Rogers).

Nothing in his oeuvre prepares you for Central Saint Giles, where multistorey planes of orange, lemon and lime appear the middle of London. It's like the script of a B-movie (which never made it to production, for obvious reasons) in which giant mutant chewy sweets have, following a radioactive accident, invaded the world. It's also a Marmite building (and please excuse the vile taste combinations of this paragraph), which passers-by either hate or love."

Above:  The as-yet untitled sculpture by Steven Gontarski.

Below Rebecca Warren's clay and bronze sculpture.

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