Across the road from Aldgate underground station is the Minories which links Aldgate High Street to Tower Hill. At the junction of Portsoken Street and Minories stands Ibex House which dates back to 1937.
This is an impressive building in an Art Deco style which is known as moderne, a streamlined style often seen in 1930s cinemas, most notably amongst Odeon cinemas.
As the building continues along Portsoken Street the curve illustrates its streamlined effect. You can see a similar effect in the Daily Express building in Fleet Street, which is another building in the moderne style also in the City of London.
The choice of materials and colour for the facade of Ibex House give it a distinctive appearance. The faience tiles, which are made of crushed glass or sand, are buff coloured and black. These, coupled with the bands of horizontal glazing framed in black metal work, give Ibex House its distinctive look.
The architects were Fuller, Hall and Foulsham and finding out anything about their practice has proved difficult. Historic England describe them as “a little-known practice which designed a small number of Art Deco style buildings”.
German architect Erich Mendelsohn was based in Berlin and in the 1920s and 30s ran the largest architectural practice in Germany.
He was a master of streamline moderne and looking at his Shocken department store in Chemnitz, which opened in 1930, it is not hard to imagine that Fuller, Halll & Fousham may have been influenced by this innovative architect.
Mendelsohn left Germany to emigrate to England in 1933 and it was he who designed the De Le Warr Pavillion in Bexhill which is another fine example of streamlined moderne.
For more information on Ibex House see: