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Chapter 6 – Burne House telecommunications centre

A rich visual record of Burne House was intended, but many of the images planned for this chapter did not end up in the book. Here, then, is almost all of that material, beginning at the beginning, with a cross section, looking north, of the original scheme for the North Paddington Telephone Exchange on the Bell Street site, as determined by the London County Council. Clear is the overall complexity, the proximity to and integration with the London Underground, the relatively shallow basement compared with the final scheme and the cube form of the tower. Note the pub

6.1  Bell St initial section




This mosaic of images shows in full for the first time the iterative development Pearson undertook in order to resolve the brief, the site and the planners' wishes. Small models demonstrate the massing of the three schemes described in detail in the published text. The extended podium of the first version (in darker wood) reflects the full programme of the LCC scheme above; compare this to the final version

6.14  Plan - podium section

Two dramatic sections through the final building give a good idea of the multitude of levels within and the differing foundation systems used under podium and tower. Prominent is the smoke vent from the car park, which parallels the exhaust stack from the emergency generators, the apparatus lift shaft and the generators in the lowest basement

6.16  Plan - Twr section


Chris Rogers  |  Writer on architecture and visual culture

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