The Hoover Building
After months of preparation, designing and a lengthy planning process and inquiry, Brooks Murray were finally able to satisfy the complex planning protocol demanded in respect of this beautiful historical iconic building, and the brief set by their client. The main issues were the impact on the listed building and the adequacy of affordable housing provision.
The inspector considered that the iconic art deco building’s external appearance would be largely unchanged by the proposals and internal changes would be sympathetic to its form and fabric, preserving the central hall, staircases and towers.
The existing building is a part of the Hoover Building complex comprising 7 buildings, all of which are listed. The site itself comprises the main southern frontage known as No. 1 Hoover Building. The site boundary extends to part of the ground floor and the whole floor plate of the upper floors. The existing building is Grade II* listed and is currently unoccupied. The previous uses included factory and most recently offices; however, the building has been vacant for a number of years.
In 1931 Ohio based vacuum cleaner makers the Hoover Company commissioned Wallis, Gilbert and Partners to design a new factory on the Western Avenue in Perivale. Modern architectural opinion treats the Hoover factory as an art deco design, but Thomas Wallis called his style ‘Fancy’. The building’s ornamentation is said to have been inspired by the art of Central and North American Indians, though there are Egyptian touches too. The Hoover factory opened in 1933 and work on various extensions and outbuildings continued until the outbreak of the WW2. It was this scattered approach that is to blame for the most legitimate criticism that can be aimed at the factory: its lack of a cohesive overall form. Contemporary critics also condemned what they saw as its brash, vulgar style, but the company and its employees liked it and so did the general public. Sadly as times changed and the economy shifted vacuum cleaner production ceased in 1982 and the Hoover factory closed. It reopened ten years late, with the rear ground floor converted into a Tesco superstore and the original building magnificently restored.