Lonely Planet Writer

Amazing post-modern building with a humble purpose in London has been given heritage recognition

A pumping station may not serve the most interesting function, but an incredible post-modern example of the utilitarian building in London has enough style that it’s just been given special recognition.

Post Modernist Buildings.Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, Stewart Street, Tower Hamlets,London.General view of east elevation to pumping station by John Outram, 1987.
Isle of Dogs Pumping Station in London has been protected. Image by Historic England Archive / James O. Davies

The Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station in east London was given Grade II-listing this week by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.

Post Modernist Buildings.Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, Stewart Street, Tower Hamlets,London.General view of east elevation to pumping station by John Outram, 1987.
Isle of Dogs Pumping Station in London has been protected. Image by Historic England Archive / James O. Davies

Post-modernism was an important style of late 20th century architecture. Now, as structures in the style reach about 30 years old, which is generally when they become eligible for listing, Historic England is assessing buildings to find the most significant examples. The pumping station is the first to be recognised as part of this project.

The station was built between 1986 and 1988 for Thames Water and was designed by British architect John Outram.

However, it’s not the first post-modern building in London to be listed. No. 1 Poultry, an iconic London building built by James Stirling and Michael Wilford, is the most recently-completed building in England to be listed. It was finished in 1998 and added to the National Heritage List last year.

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The announcement that the Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station would be listed came during London Festival of Architecture. The festival is on until 30 June, with events happening around the city. There are walks and tours, including a London street market walk, a Shoreditch town hall tour, and a historical architecture tour at the Savoy. There are also exhibitions and installations happening around the city. More information on the festival can be found here.