Oriel Chambers, Water Street, Liverpool

Grade 1 Listed Oriel Chambers in Water Street, Liverpool was built in 1864 by local architect Peter Ellis. It is the first building to feature a metal framed glass curtain wall and has influenced the design of tall office buildings throughout the world.

The design at the time lead to some criticism, with Building News describing it as “a kind of greenhouse architecture run mad” and The Builder as “The plainest brick warehouse in town is infinitely superior as a building to that large agglomeration of protruding plate-glass bubbles … Did we not see this vast abortion — which would be depressing were it not ludicrous — with our own eyes, we should have doubted the possibility of its existence. Where and in what are their beauties supposed to lie?

Times have moved on and it is now considered to be one of the finest buildings in Liverpool.

Further reading: Engineering Timelines