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More from Tom Bolton

Limehouse Chinatown

A vanished district that lives on in legend.

Will Hay’s house

The former house of comic actor Will Hay, a star of the 1930s and a renowned amateur astronomer.

Seven Dials

A famous column that went disappeared for 200 years.

More in United Kingdom

The Barbican and the Making of the Modern Office Building – Pt. 2

The Barbican Redevelopment Scheme, comprising the Barbican Estate, Barbican Arts Centre and the office buildings around London Wall and Moorgate, is well known to people with an affection for twentieth-century architecture, and has become major cultural centre in its own right. Nevertheless, very few people are aware of how a type of plastic manufactured in rural Kent quietly revolutionised the design and construction of modern office building, in particular the curtain-walling systems that enabled open-plan offices. In the second of two viewpoints on the New Barbican, Alexander Davidson tells a story encompassing two office buildings built as part of the Barbican Redevelopment Scheme – Lee House and St Alphage House – and how the plastic Holoplast was manufactured, used in construction, and eventually came to be demonised by the City of London Corporation.