- Flo Armitage-Hookes
GLIMPSES: Bank House, King Street, LS1 2HL
Crouching, music blaring and eyes fixed through the lens I don’t quite notice the man in my peripheral vision. He’s waving. I turn and am confronted by a security guard, who is dressed in pressed cotton, a silk waistcoat and long sleeves despite the heat. ‘Excuse me, what are you doing?’. After a polite exchange, he seems elated that I’m interested in the architecture of Bank House. He gestures to its tiered and unrelenting form and eagerly tells me that the last person who photographed it won a competition - so no pressure.
His enthusiasm is warranted. Bank House was formerly the Bank of England’s regional headquarters, Grade II Listed in 2015 and is an icon of Modernist architecture in Leeds. It is resolutely geometric, composed of blocks which segment the facade into three sections. These encroach on the street incrementally, creating an overhang which seems almost precarious. The building peers over a busy five lane intersection and is reminiscent of the paradoxically inverted staircases in M.C. Escher’s ‘Relativity’.
Bank House is clad in marble - flecks of white, soft pink and grey dapple its undulating form. On this bright day, the entire building appears glossy, glaring and as if it is emitting light. Cars and clouds flash across its reflective surface, creating a dynamism which is also incited by its separate tiers. When circling the building, its layers move independently; the top creeps back and recedes into straight lines whilst the lower levels transition into squares.
You can check out Flo's 'GLIMPSES' series on her Website HERE.