Located at 120 Fleet Street in the City of London, the former Daily Express Building is one of London's most iconic Modernist buildings. The building was constructed between 1930 and 1932 to serve as the headquarters of the Daily Express Newspaper in the capital.
Architects Ellis and Clarke (the practice later became Ellis Clarke and Gallanaugh) were commissioned by the owner of the Daily Express, Lord Beaverbrook (who served in Winston Churchill's wartime cabinet as Minister of Aircraft Production and later as Minister of Supply), to extend forward the existing Daily Express buildings towards Fleet Street. Their original proposal would see a steel-framed structure, clad externally in Portland stone. However, complications arose from the physical constraints of the site and the requirement to have printing presses running through the basement of the existing and new buildings.
Sir Evan Owen Williams (1890 - 1969) was drafted in to the project to resolve the problems with the scheme. Williams was an architect and engineer and his company was later responsible for the design and construction of the first section of the M1 Motorway in Britain. Williams' plan for the Daily Express scheme called on his engineering expertise. His solution was to span the basement level with a reinforced concrete deck, to allow a clear space beneath for the printing presses.
The exterior of the building was redesigned, the Portland stone-clad design replaced with one faced in black Vitrolite panels with chromium strips at the joints. The corners of the building were chamfered, giving the building a streamlined appearance. The ground floor level featured a wide entrance with chromed canopy above (by R Atkinson), with a large glass window above and tall, chamfered corner windows. The next three floors above all feature glazed central and corner windows. The final three storeys are stepped back, the fifth floor is initially stepped only at the sides when viewed face-on, the final two storeys stepped back on all sides. A projecting chromium rail runs around the outside of the building, just below the fifth storey level. Two flag poles are projected horizontally and a single pole vertically from the roof of the building.
The lobby of the Daily Express Building was designed by Robert Atkinson (1883 - 1952), with two plaster reliefs entitled 'Britain' and 'Empire' by British sculptor Eric Aumonier (1899 - 1974) and is one of the most impressive and ornate Art Deco interior schemes in Britain.
The Daily Express newspaper vacated the building in the late 1980s. Apart from the facade the remainder of the building was demolished and replaced with an office building. The facade, including the lobby area, was restored and integrated into the new building.
The building was awarded Grade-II* status on 15 March 1972.