A potted history of the Willis, Faber and Dumas Building

In Ipswich there’s a building that looks like a giant black grand piano.

It was one of the first buildings designed by the much celebrated architect Lord Foster (Norman). Built in the 1970’s actually quite an important building because it was the first building ever to be clad entirely in glass without the panels being in a frame. The beautiful towers of glass that are now commonplace are based on this pioneering design.

Why do I like it?

  • First off, its somewhat satisfying that the amazing cityscapes of the worlds megacities owe something of their design lineage to a building in a small parochial town in Suffolk.
  • Even though it would seem to be totally out of place amongst an historic town centre, in fact, its reflective glass mirrors the old buildings that surround it.
  • Its shaped to fit exactly within its irregular plot and so doesn’t breakup the flow of the street plan or look like a ‘carbuncle’

PS its also much prettier than the hideous square tower in the background which has now fortunately been demolished.

Images nabbed from wikipedia. 

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