Richard Seifert’s Space Tower what a pleasant surprise, as you veer slightly from Kingsway and collide happily with One Kemble Street, first meeting the smaller slab of Aviation House, then the conjoined concrete cylinder – the perfect none identical twin.
Part Marineville, part Seifert’s modular concrete, and Y shaped supports, a building Derek Meddings would be proud of, anything can happen in the next half hour.
Predating the current rash of Brutalist models, the child of the 60s never had it better.
Seifert designed 1 Kemble Street, then called Space House, in a drum shape to reduce the lateral forces that can stress a slab-like block thus reducing the engineering requirements and cutting the cost of construction.
He originally designed the building to be a proper tower almost twice as high that would have served as a luxury hotel, but objections from Camden Council saw it reduced in height to what has been built today.
Defining the look of 1 Kemble Street are the pre-cast concrete panels that clad the building, much in the same way as Seifert and Oldham Estate approached Centre Point.
Seifert’s signature Y-beams are also highly visible around the base of the building. Each of the modelled concrete cruciform units has a dimension of exactly ten feet in width and height and three feet in depth. Looking closely at the facade clearly reveals the grid of the building.
Take a walk, have a look around and around, full of surprises, accidental gentle collisions.