Economist Building London, 25 St James’s Street Refurbishment, Architect, Design, The Smithsons, Photo

Economist Building London

Renewal of British Sixties Architecture, St James, central London design by The Smithsons, England

6 Feb 2017

The Economist Building Refurbishment

The Economist Building Renewal

Row erupts over Economist Building revamp, reports the Architects’ Journal today.

A proposal by DSDHA to refurbish and remodel The Smithsons’ Brutalist building has been questioned by leading architects.

Economist Building London
photograph © Adrian Welch

There was a partial refurbishment planning application for 25 St James’s Street back in January 1996.

There is an entertaining article by The Economist about their own offices and preparations to move out, “Walking to the entrance of our building, across a rather austere plaza, we sometimes pass groups of architecture students in drab, well-cut clothes and interesting glasses.”

Economist Building 25 St James's Street
photo © Adrian Welch

The austerely elegant buildings formed in a tight cluster were the result of “a weekly newspaper that had improbably decided to become a property developer and two bold young people who were in the process of creating a soon-to-be notorious architectural style.”

In summer 2017 the media group will move into the Adelphi building, “a renovated 1930s hulk near the Strand.”

Economist Building St James
picture © Adrian Welch

There are three separate buildings, originally to house the following:-

The tallest tower was for The Economist and the Economist Intelligence Unit, a research firm.
A smaller tower would contain rooms for Boodle’s club and flats.
The shortest tower, but broader and with grand windows, was for Martin’s Bank.



12 Nov 2012

Economist Building London News

Economist Building, 25 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1HG
Date built: 1959
Design: Peter & Alison Smithson, Architects

Listing: Grade II*

New photos from 12 Nov 2012:

Economist Building Economist Building
photos © Adrian Welch, Nov 2012

Major 20th Century building, a key example of Modernism in London.

25 St James’s Street is the major office tower of The Economist Plaza.

Economist Building Economist Building London
photos © Adrian Welch, Jun 2007

This austere tower is considered one of the key architectural designs of the 1960s in Britain.

Impressively situated among the grandiose 18th century streets of St James’s is The Economist Plaza. This group of three iconic buildings is a testament to the inimitable style of the 1960s and epitomises everything that is cool and minimal about the structural design of the time. The Plaza exudes a chic and vibrant quality where art meets architecture to create the ultimate office environment.

The Economist Buildings in London are widely recognised as one of the great triumphs of 1960s architecture. The modest development based on the tower and plaza format, achieves rare elegance and structural logic, while showing great consideration for its sensitive location amongst the 18th Century streets of London’s St James.

Despite the radical proposals for building put forward by its architects throughout the post-war era, it is this rather conservative building that is their greatest legacy in the city. In 1988 it received Grade II listed status and is an enduring monument to its architects’ rigorous and determined style.

Economist Building – St James context:

The Ritz Hotel London – exterior:
Ritz Hotel London Ritz Hotel London Ritz Hotel
photos © Adrian Welch, Jun 2007

Economist Building design – The Smithsons, architects

Reasons for Listing Designation:

“The Economist group, of 1960-64 by Alison and Peter Smithson, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: the masterpiece of two of post-war Britain’s most radical and influential architects, expressing a remarkable fusion of Brutalist starkness and rigour with a contextualist awareness of history and place; * Townscape interest: a planning achievement of the highest order and one of London’s most memorable modern spaces, offering subtle intimations of the Greek agora, the Italian piazza and the alleys and courts of Georgian London.:

Website: The Economist Building Listing – Historic England post on The Economist group (including office tower, residential block, former bank and podium)


Location: St James’s Street, London, SW1A 1HG, England, UK

London Building Designs

Contemporary London Architecture Designs

London Architecture Designs – chronological list

London Architecture Walking Tours – tailored UK capital city walks by e-architect

London Architects Offices

London Architecture News

Piccadilly building near The Ritz Hotel, St James:
Piccadilly building
photo © Adrian Welch

London Architecture

London Houses

Economist Building London: building photographs taken with Panasonic DMC-FX01 lumix camera; Leica lense: 2816×2112 pixels – original photos available upon request: info(at)

Economist Building architects : Peter & Alison Smithson

Mayfair Buildings

Modern Architecture

Modern House

Darwin Centre Phase Two
Design: C. F. Møller Architects

Comments / photos for the Economist BuildingSt James’s Street Offices page welcome