Friday, 10 June 2011

Department of Energy and Climate Change, Whitehall Place SW1

What a pleasure it is to happen on a fabulous building you had never noticed before despite it being in an area you have been cycling round for forty years.
Admittedly, it isn't on any of the tourist trails, being built in 1951 for the Ministry of Agriculture. The architect was C.E. Mee of the Ministry of Works, whose only other work I can find is a school canteen in Clacton.
The style is an official, safe version of the Lutyens classicism of twenty years before, and as such is very acceptable and well handled. But the outstanding element is the sculpture by James Woodford, who created the bronze doors and guardian figures on the RIBA in Portland Place.
Woodford carved a massive royal coat of arms over the front door, adding fecund ears of wheat. On either side are men riding a bull (left) and a dolphin (right).
Woodford also carved a sequence of attractive keystones depicting various animals just below us in the food chain, which I will post over the next few days.
The building was reconstructed behind the facade in 2003 and is now occupied by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, so Woodford's sculptures are still appropriate, sort of.


Ron Combo said...

Love that coat of arms.

tristan said...

love the shadows, too

you were there at exactly the right moment