Devonshire Square

Bennetts Associates, London, 2001


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An alternative to the standard masonry-clad and glazed office facades 

Peter Cook/VIEW (website)     Download Original

  • An alternative to the standard masonry-clad and glazed office facades    
  • Corner of the north facade overlooking Devonshire Square    
  • External and internal structure is linked    
  • It was established that the Devonshire Square address was a useful marketing tool    
  • The aim, in true Chicago spirit, was to express the structural frame externally, creating well-detailed facades    
  • The layout defines spaces which would make ideal meeting rooms    
  • A stepped series of atria rising above level 3 provides increased natural light     
  • Flexible open-plan office    
  • Perimeter service cores mean that all occupants can enjoy the views and allow for unencumbered flexible open-plan office floors    
  • Devonshire Square at night    
  • Site plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Third floor plan    
  • Eigth floor plan    
  • Section    
  • Structure diagram    
  • Structural diagram    
  • The planning consent scheme was based on an exposed Corten steel frame    
  • Most beams are of the ‘cellform’ type, with frequent circular holes that allow the flexibility for a multiplicity of services penetrations and with studs welded to the top flanges to achieve composite action through the slab    
  • The external structure at Devonshire Square has the integrity of its load-bearing concrete structure showing    
  • Columns and beams on the facade are not covered with fire protection, but are shielded by the cladding design    
  • The innovative use of steel as the principle element of the facade has survived intact, despite the obvious questions raised about the need for fire protection, durability, thermal breaks and quality    
  • The main contract was carried out on a design-build basis, with Bennetts Associates novated to the contractor    
  • Detail of facade    
  • Detail of steelwork    

City centre office development with an exposed structural steel frame and glazed facade designed to be in sympathy with the surrounding Victorian warehouses

Bennett's Associates won a limited competition in 1996 to design an office building on the site of the redundant Houndsditch Telephone Exchange.

Within this rugged, load-bearing steel and glass façade is the incorporation of the client’s floor space requirements. With respect to the proximity of a conservation area and rights of light limitations, the building steps back from Devonshire Square on the sixth floor, rising up to nine storeys along the Houndsditch elevation.

Other adjustments the designers made at the request of the client, Royal Bank of Scotland, were: developing an appropriate language of steelwork detailing and finishes, addressing potential cold bridging problems, vapour and condensation control, fire engineering issues, corrosion protection issues, all while understanding the movements, deflections and tolerances of exposed steelwork.


  • Begun: Aug 1999
  • Completed: Dec 2001
  • Floor area: 31,500m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £41.7M
  • Tender date: May 1999
  • Procurement: Civils JCT lump sum. Main contract JCT 2 stage design and build
  • Address: Devonshire Square, London, EC2M 4BA, United Kingdom


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