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A Green Gem by the Gherkin

Hidden away in the north-east of the City is one of Europe's most important and idiosyncratic buildings.

Hidden away in Bury Street, by the Gherkin, in the north east of the City is Holland House, one of Europe’s most important buildings. It may well be the first on the Continent to be constructed on a steel frame.

It was built in 1914-16 by the Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage for the Kroller-Mullers shipping company. Berlage had been deeply influenced by a visit to the US in 1911, especially by Frank Lloyd Wright.

The surface is decorated with green tiles, giving a highly distinctive appearance, which is accentuated on its south-eastern corner by a sculpture of a freighter sailing out towards pedestrians passing its entrance, carved by J Mendes da Costa. The building feels as though it is anticipating Art Deco.

Holland House is divided in two, to reflect its construction around another office block built in 1912 for a grain dealer, which adds to its slightly odd character.

Bury Street is named after the abbots of Bury St Edmunds whose London residence was here until the Dissolution.

Ian McDiarmid is a qualified City of London Tour Guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Ian’s walking tours.

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November 27, 2020
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