Architect: Allies and Morrison, 2005-07.
It says much about Bankside's recent office architecture that blue metal fins are considered interesting enough to name a block (even allowing for the jokey tuna reference).
In April 1856, the Metropolitan Board of Works sought to transform the London borough of Southwark by knocking through a new street linking London Bridge station with the West End. 150 years later, Southwark Street was again the focus of a major improvement programme, with over 40% of the borough subject to that controversial euphemism – ‘regeneration’. The Blue Fin building, or Bankside 1 as it was originally known, was the first phase of a trio of buildings (Bankside 1, 2 & 3) developed by Land Securities in 2005 as part of this process. Providing around a million square feet of mixed-use floor space behind the Tate Modern gallery, the three buildings, designed by Allies and Morrison, occupy a former industrial estate and the sites of Tabard House and St Christopher House, the latter of which was inhabited by the Ministry of Defence.
The Blue Fin building is the most striking of the three structures, named after the blue aluminium fins that shade the glass curtain wall facades. These are undoubtedly the most exciting part of the building (which isn’t saying much). With huge 42,000 square feet floor plates, the structure is essentially an open plan office building with a glazed exterior that forms occasionally interesting angles. The ground floor contains retail outlets and restaurants, lining walkways provided by exposed concrete piers or pilotis. A large but relatively uninspiring addition to the increasingly corporate streetscape of Southwark.
Best time to visit: after a trip to the Tate Modern. The offices are inaccessible to the general public but most of what ought to be seen can be viewed from the retail and restaurant units on the ground floor.
Address: 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU.