Architecture Update: Reprieve for the NatWest Tower

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The Independent Culture
NOT LONG ago it looked as though two of the most famous buildings by the 83-year-old architect Richard Seifert were destined either for demolition or radical alteration. The National Westminster Tower in the City of London, completed in 1981, was badly damaged by the IRA bomb attack in April. Peter Rees, the City's chief engineer, suggested that the 600ft tower should be demolished and replaced by an even taller building. Last week a three- volume report by the engineers Pell Frischmann revealed Seifert's tower to be structurally sound, so it is likely to remain a landmark on the City skyline for years to come.

Meanwhile Seifert's Centre Point tower in Soho has found an unlikely champion in the Royal Fine Art Commission, which has placed it at the top of a list of post-war buildings the RFAC would like to see listed. Developed by Harry Hyams' Oldham Estates, Centre Point was built in 1964 and has been subject to some remodelling by the architectural practice Allies & Morrison for its current owner, the developers MEPC.

English Heritage recommended a listing for the beehive-style office block last October, but this was turned down by the Department of National Heritage. With the RFAC's backing, Centre Point's time may have come.

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