Oriel Chambers

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This is one of my favourite buildings – the Oriel Chambers on Water Street, Liverpool. It was designed by the architect, Peter Ellis, and built in 1864.

It was the first office building to have a cast iron frame with a curtain wall consisting of a mass of windows. It was very different to the typical buildings of the time with their elaborate ornamentation and small windows and it was described as ‘a great abortion’ and ‘an agglomeration of great glass bubbles’.

Earlier this year it was undergoing renovation and was covered over with scaffolding. But the work is complete now and I snapped the above picture on my phone when I was in Liverpool a few weeks ago.

Peter Ellis only ever designed two buildings – the Oriel Chambers and 16 Cook Street, also in Liverpool. They were too far ahead of their time for the establishment.

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