The Ark

Nuggets – bite size chunks of London

The Ark

Designed by Ralph Ersk­ine, the Ark is a 10-storey cop­per and glass office block locat­ed at 201 Tal­gar­th Road, over­look­ing the Ham­mer­smith fly­over. So called for its shape, the Ark was com­plet­ed in 1992 but ini­tial­ly failed to find a ten­ant after the Swedish com­pa­ny that comis­sioned its con­struc­tion ran into finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. The drinks and media con­glom­er­ate Sea­gram leased the Ark as its UK head­quar­ters from 1996 until the busi­ness’s demise in 2000.

Ger­man real estate group Deka bought the Ark in 1997 for £43 mil­lion and sold it in 2006 for £49.5 mil­lion – not a remark­able prof­it. The build­ing had orig­i­nal­ly been tout­ed as pio­neer­ing the con­cept of ‘the office as a com­mu­ni­ty’ but it was inter­nal­ly recon­fig­ured at great cost in 2008, doing away with its cen­tral ‘vil­lage’ to increase the let­table floor area.

Hav­ing remained emp­ty for much of its exis­tence despite attempts to mar­ket it for both sin­gle and mul­ti­ple ten­an­cy, the Ark has been var­i­ous­ly described as a white ele­phant and an alba­tross (nei­ther of which were men­tioned in Noah’s inven­to­ry).

Pri­ma­ry occu­piers and own­ers Gen­er­al Elec­tric put the Ark on the mar­ket in Sep­tem­ber 2012 for £79 mil­lion. A year lat­er it was sold to Citibank, on behalf of uniden­ti­fied pri­vate investors.
Hammersmith Ark