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One Great George Street (ICE HQ)

London, United Kingdom




3 years




United Kingdom
Project achievements


The Grade 2 building has been rigorously maintained and updated over time

Economy boosted

As a membership organisation its building has helped bring in extra revenue

Area improved

Over 100 years later the building is still awesome and eye catching

Build a landmark headquarters for what became the Institution of Civil Engineers

The Institution of Civil Engineers' headquarters at 1 Great George Street in central London has been the ICE's home for over a century.

Completed in 1913, the neoclassical building still has many of its original features.

They include the oak-lined council room and reading rooms with panelled walls of walnut wood. There's also a lecture theatre named after Thomas Telford – ICE's first president.

The ICE started life without a permanent base.

For the first few years after its foundation in 1818, members met in coffee houses around London or hired rooms near Charing Cross station. The institution later leased a building close to the Houses of Parliament.

There was another move when later purpose-built headquarters completed in 1895 had to make way for the expansion of nearby government buildings.

ICE members had visited New York for meetings with their counterparts in the American Society of Civil Engineers. Inspired by the city's skyscrapers, the ICE decided on a steel-framed structure for its new home.

Six architects were asked to put forward ideas. Scottish architect James Miller won the competition. His steel-framed design allowed for grand open spaces inside the structure as well as large windows, letting in plenty of natural light.

The ICE's new home opened in 1913. Expansion in the 1930s saw the institution buy up leases of adjoining houses to create today's ICE headquarters

"A magnificent Grade II listed, four-domed, Edwardian building”


ICE Story - presented by Dan Cruickshank

This is the story of civil engineering and how it changed the world. Dan Cruickshank talks us through the past 200 years of the Institution of Civil Engineers as part of our bicentenary celebrations.

Did you know …

  1. The ICE building's distinctive features mean it's often used as a film location. Big screen productions filmed at 1 Great George Street include superhero blockbuster 'Wonder Woman', 'Eyes Wide Shut' starring Tom Cruise and Oscar-winning biopic 'Gandhi.

  2. TV dramas filmed at ICE include forensic pathology drama 'Silent Witness', MI5 action series 'Spooks' and the popular historical drama, 'The Crown'.

  3. As well as numerous weddings and conferences, the building has also been used for fashion shows and as the media centre for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Difference One Great George Street has made

One Great George Street has provided a permanent home for the ICE for more than a century.

As well as being the nerve centre of ICE activities, the building is now also a conference centre that provides income for the institution.

The structure is also a meeting place with facilities for ICE members visiting from all over the world – including a library and work spaces on the second floor.

In 2023, Kendal's Café Bar opened in lower ground one, named after the venue that hosted the institution’s first-ever meeting on 2 December 1818.

How the work was done

Architect James Miller's design used a new building method – a steel-framed structure held up by pillars and clad with a Portland stone exterior.

The new headquarters took some inspiration from two recently opened buildings: London's Ritz hotel and the world famous Selfridges department store in Oxford Street. Both were steel-framed structures that allow for large open spaces inside.

Engineer Ferdinand Huddleston oversaw steelwork for the project. Huddleston had worked on London's Smithfield meat market and Liverpool Street station, among other landmarks.

The building's foundation stone was laid on 25 October 1910.

A time capsule buried under the stone contains a copy of the ICE charters and by-laws as well as a bronze impression of the Telford medal. The Telford medal is an ICE award for a paper or series of papers.

In an early example of recycling, the project team took much of the new headquarters' walnut-wood panelling from the 1895 building along with shelving and some of the fireplaces.

Engineers constructed the second floor with a glass barrel roof and with several glass domes around the structure to make the most of available natural light.

One Great George Street was awarded Gold ECOsmart status which reflects the extensive measures taken to fully embrace environmental sustainability.

ECOsmart is the accreditation programme of Greengage Solutions - recognising and supporting eco-friendly hotels and conferences venues that meet certified standards of sustainability.

Find out more about sustainability initiatives at One Great George Street.

People who made it happen

  • Architect: James Miller
  • Structural engineer: Ferdinand Huddleston
  • Contracting engineer: John Mowlem and Son

More about this project