Ceramic Dark Beauty – London Wall Place

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Facade Type: Ceramic Cladding | Architects: Make Architects | Location: London, United Kingdom

In central London between Moorgate and Barbican, the newly completed office development of London Wall Place immediately catches your eye due to its dark blue ceramic facade. The new development designed by Make Architects is cantilevering above the London Wall and is comprising of two office buildings, twelve and sixteen storeys high.

The main feature of both buildings is the alternating volumes of changing heights which divide the facade into vertical strips. Two contrasting facade types help breaking down the scale of the construction and achieving a composition of rhythmic volumes. Dark ceramic cladding alternates with white GRC panels, making the buildings appear light and slender despite the large scale of the two constructions.

At first glance, the ceramic elements appear to have a pure black colour, however the glaze finish has a deep-blue tint which according to the manufacturer was specially customised for this project. The high-gloss finish changes depending on the weather. When exposed to strong sunlight, the façade takes on a deep-blue colour, but when the sky is cloudy it appears almost black.

The ceramic facade covers a total area of 6,200 square meters and is composed of metal framed full height double glazed units with projecting external cladding. According to the manufacturer, the ceramic facade is composed of 36,000 single ceramic elements of different cuts and lengths and with three different cross sections. When viewed in cross section, the ceramic elements have a round projecting profile which helps increase the overall ceramic content and enhance their framing effect.

A striking feature of both buildings is the cantilevering of the steel frame above London Wall. The ceramic elements continue at the soffit and make the facade appear as if it extends underneath the cantilever, thus wrapping the building in the ceramic cladding.

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2 thoughts on “Ceramic Dark Beauty – London Wall Place

  1. Great project report!

    The ceramic façade made by NBK covers the slender spaces between the high window surfaces, framing the windows and creating a highly expressive profile. These vertical columns rise to a height of more than five meters between the window surfaces. When viewed in cross-section, they project outwards like a pitched roof, which not only heightens their framing effect but also increases the overall ceramic content.

  2. Beautiful article, congratulation to the author. Would like to add that the knapped Kent flint of the site’s archaeological ruin nearby inspired MAKE architects selecting the dark glazed ceramic tiles. Facades are designed and fabricated in Italy.

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