Be Inspired: Angel Court

Image source: Angel Court Bank

The devil is in the detail

Uncovering the stunning split-faced stone façade of Angel Court

Angel Court, the landmark development in central London’s financial district, has been shortlisted for the Architects Journal Award for Tall Building of the Year.

The 25-storey ‘Sky Tower’ marks an arresting addition to the City skyline—but it’s the detail closer to ground that really makes this building special…

A specialist in all hard materials and trusted partner to the building industry, Hardscape applied its innovation, expertise and product knowledge to this feat of engineering.

A world first

The tower’s glass exterior is contrasted by a unique façade at the building’s base. Carlow blue limestone, sourced from Ireland and supplied  by  Hardscape, runs up the 6-storey  ‘Garden Floors’ and along its terraces in a grid effect, forming the balustrades of gardens.

The stone is split to reveal its rich metallic grey colour and tone while imparting an appealing texture. The regenerated façade makes for an attractive departure from the 1970s heavy brown, granite cladding of the previous structure. 

The charm (and challenge) of split-faced stone

Angel Court is the first time rough hewn limestone has been used as cladding in this way. Achieving the charming effect was a  complex engineering feat.

Hardscape worked closely with architects Fletcher Priest and  contractors Grants International to ensure the material met the project’s demanding specifications.

The appeal of split-faced stone lies in its irregularity. But construction requires predictability and practicality. Getting the balance right is tricky. 

Quality of finish was paramount.

Fletcher Priest returned to the quarry on multiple visits before specifying the stone. As well as being split-faced, the material was selected to contain no fossils that would detract from the finish.

Hardscape even ensured the peaks and troughs of the material fell within a specified range to ensure the right blend of character and cohesion.

Aesthetics aside, the material needed to be the right depth and weight to apply it to the building while retaining structural integrity. The was little margin for error. Due to its significant weight, the stone was supplied to a tolerance of 15mm.

Mathew Haslam, Managing Director at Hardscape, said: “Angel Court is a wonderful synthesis of aesthetics and engineering. The ambitious project represents the first use cladding of this kind at this scale.

“An expert in stone, inside and out, applying our experience and expertise to this ambitious project shows what results we can achieve not only a floor level. We’re delighted to have delivered against demanding specifications. The result is stunning.”

Hardscape also supplied internal limestone paving and external paving for the roof gardens.

The Architects Journal Awards will be announced on 7th December.