Merrill Lynch Financial Centre

This project was awarded Award in the Interiors category at the Natural Stone Awards 2002.

The official guide said, 'The site now occupiede by Merrill Lynch FInancial Centre has been redeveloped only four times in its 700-year history. The site has always featured buildings that make major architectural statements and the latest is no exception.

The Corporation of London and English Heritage were involved in detailed consultations relating to the redevelopment of this site, which was intended to upgrade and generally enhance this underdeveloped area of the city as well as enhancing views of St Paul's Cathedral and reinstating the footprint of Wren's Christ Church Greyfriars.

The composite and indelible shadow left by its history, along with the physical attributes of the site and the statutory regulations covering it established a highly particular context for its redevelopment.

A feature of the project is the flow of outside spaces into the interior. This is most noticeable in the main entrance reception area where the external wall lines becomes part of the interior. The external Portland Whitbed limestone, with Portland Roach, therefore forms one of the main wall features of the three-storey entrance atrium, which also has a Portland limestone floor.

Spaces that spill out of the reception area, such as he main visitor waiting area and circulation gallery, also use these stones. The waiting area has a spectacular feature wall of Portland Roach made if 1100mm x 825mm slabs. Here, there is a Balzac stone floor.

The 60m long gallery has Portland Whitbed to one side with the Merrill Lynch logo and corporate mission statement engraved into it. Here again, the floor is Purbeck. The lift lobbies at either end are clad in Portland Whitbed, as are each of the upper floor level lift lobbies.

The toilets off the lift lobbies also have Purbeck floors with Broughton Moor feature panels. Purbeck is used as feature panels in the wall tiling and the vanity top is created from large slabs of Broughton Moor slate.'

The judges commented, 'This was the highlight of our second day of inspections. An indigenous stone floor so carefully detailed and exceptionally laid we found no fault. This work was complemented by a long wall of Whitbed with contemporary lettering, machine cut but exceptionally good, indicating that, in the right hands, machines can generate artistically beautiful work.'

Merrill Lynch using Portland Stone built by Albion Stone