Walking Column: Petershill


This was our second big invited competition. Its site was adjacent to Bracken House, and again, under the height rules surrounding St. Pauls. JOA invented a new building type for this project - a variant of the 'groundscraper'. It has never previously been published. We called it the 'Waffle'. Its entire success depended upon an Architecture capable of relying on an 'appealing' public interior. Failing the existence of such a Medium even after nearly 100 years of modernism, we were reduced to merely indicating its possibility.

We were accused of being too aggressive towards St. Paul's and 'thinking too big. Our building came up only to the kneecaps of the Cathedral, which towered above it. Our columns were, as one might expect, fattish. But this is because we enlarged their bases so as to be able to walk through them, or when not required for public circulation, occupy and lease the space.

The creation of the "Walking Order", a tool that has unloosed every device of 'Beaux Arts" compositioin, was born out of the heavy pressures of Real Estate calculation in the City of London, where as Albert Richardson, the one remaining luminary of Classicism in the dark age of the 1950's, and a most determined eccentric, remarked, after building Bracken House: " There is only one thing wrong with the City of London. They think of nothing except money".


Innovations: The JOA Toolbox: "Automatic Architecture".