The Willis building in Ipswich is one of the earliest buildings designed by Norman Foster after establishing Foster Associates. Constructed between 1970 and 1975 for the insurance firm now known as Willis Group Holdings, it is now seen as a landmark in the development of the 'high tech' architectural style. The building houses some 1,300 office staff in open plan offices spread over three floors.
The centre of the building is constructed from a grid of concrete pillars, 14 m (46 ft) apart, supporting cantilevered concrete slab floors. The exterior is clad in 890 dark smoed glass curtain wall. The use of dark glass, a curtain wall and lack of right angle corners mirrors the art deco Express Building in Manchester - one of Norman Foster's favourite buildings. The centralescalator well leads up to a rooftop staff restaurant surrounded by a rooftop garden.
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