Thomas Heatherwick Studio
Angels Wings, Paternoster Vents
St Paul's Cathedral
Paternoster Square is part of a development in a high-profile, sensitive location, next to St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It is a new public space containing a pre-existing underground electricity substation. This substation required a cooling system with outlet and inlet vents, but the client team was unhappy with the proposed solution for a single large object as it would turn the surrounding space into a corridor.
The studio made use of the two existing holes in the concrete slab covering the substation, to reduce the overall size of the vent object by splitting the outlet part into two smaller vents – saving significant space by setting the inlet ducts into the ground using grilles flush with the pavement.
The aesthetic design is derived from experiments with folded paper, scaled up to 11m in height; the vents retain the proportions of the A4-size paper used in these experiments. The Vents are fabricated from 63 identical, 8mm thick, stainless steel isosceles triangles welded together and finished by glass bead blasting.
The Vents are a permanent installation, available for the public to visit.