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Photograph of the Daily Express Building, London, 1932

Photograph of the Daily Express Building London 1932

Was this Britain’s first example of ‘glass box’ architecture?

The impressive Daily Express Building at 120-129 Fleet Street, City of London, designed by Owen Williams based on plans by Ellis & Clarke, comprises a reinforced concrete frame cloaked in black glass and is perhaps Britain’s first example of ‘glass box’ architecture. Inside, sumptuous Art Deco interiors were created by Robert Atkinson with the striking entrance hall featuring an imposing oval staircase. This structure is dramatically captured here by the eminent Modernist photographers Dell & Wainwright, official lensmen to the Architectural Review, with their characteristic use of an unusual viewpoint, dramatic contrasts between light and shadow and an emphasis on strong lines and geometric abstraction.

Image: Photograph of the main staircase, Daily Express Building, 120-129 Fleet Street, City of London, England, taken in 1932; image from RIBApix (number RIBA8518)
Designer: Ellis & Clarke; Sir Evan Owen Williams (1890-1969)
Photographer: Dell & Wainwright
Credit: Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections

Article by Justine Sambrook, RIBA
23 January 2017

Discover more

This is just one of over four million items in our world-class architectural collections at the RIBA Library – it's open to everyone and access is free. Visit the library to explore our collections of books, periodicals, drawings, photographs and models:

  1. Periodical article
    Daily Express, Fleet Street; Architects: H. O. Ellis & W. L. Clarke
    'Architect & Building News'. 1 July 1932, pp.11-17.
  2. Periodical article
    Daily Express, Fleet Street; Architects: H. O. Ellis & W. L. Clarke
    'Architects' Journal'. 6 July 1932, pp.5-9.
  3. Photograph
    21 photonegatives of the Daily Express Building, 120-129 Fleet Street, London, photographed by Dell & Wainwright
    Record control no. P011100; Call/Ref. no. DWN2668-DWN2689

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