Situated at the focal point of the Square, the Paternoster Column stands 23.3m tall and is part of a ventilation system.
Whitfield Partners (architects)
2003, Portland stone, Cornish granite and gilded copper (urn)
Situated at the focal point of the Square, the Paternoster Column stands 23.3m tall and is part of a ventilation system for the traffic gyratory and the car park beneath.
The classic design follows an ancient tradition – stretching back as far as imperial Rome – of marking places of significance with monumental structures.
Comprising a hexagonal stone base, a fluted Corinthian column and a gilded copper urn with flame finial, the column was designed to be the ‘centre of gravity’ for the entire Paternoster development, yet is deliberately not aligned on an axis with other architectural elements so as to create a ‘relaxed’ environment in the Square.
The column itself is a recreation of those designed by Inigo Jones for the west portico of the old St Paul’s. Destroyed during the construction of Wren’s present day cathedral, replica columns of almost identical proportions and design can still be viewed at the west, north and south porticos.
Running through the central service hole of the column are a lightening conductor and fibre optic cables for night-lighting of the urn, which was designed to provide a visual reference to a fire beacon, and thus fulfil the column’s purpose as a marker.
The urn also reflects the finials on the west towers of today’s St Paul’s and commemorates the fact that the site has been destroyed twice by fire – the Great Fire of 1666 and the Blitz of WWII.