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The London Ark

London, United Kingdom
1 of 1

The Ark is a prominent office building located in Hammersmith, London, acquired by developers Landid, GE Real Estate and O&H properties in 2006 and extensively refurbished in late 2007 early 2008. The Ark, so called in reference to its hull-like profile, was designed by celebrated architect Ralph Erskine, for Swedish developers Ake Larson and Pronator. Erskine, based in Sweden, worked from a small office in collaboration with other trusted architects in order to retain design freedom. In the case of the Ark, Erskine and Vernon Gracie (who worked with Erskine on Byker Wall in Newcastle) collaborated with London architects Rock Townsend and latterly Lennart Bergstrom in Stockholm. The Ark is an original and popular landmark greeting visitors to London as they drive in on the A4 through Hammersmith, from the west or Heathrow Airport. The Ark has achieved its completely original feel both inside and out while structurally building a surprisingly conventional building. As an ark, the structure cheats, as it is not contained within the 'hull of the ship'. The columns supporting the concrete floors rise vertically, and are outside the hull at ground level, faced in decorative brick and appearing as buttresses before they pierce the skin of the building. This detail occurs below the 'water level' of the A4 overpass, and is therefore scarcely visible while driving past.