Vauxhall Cross SIS Building


As I have mentioned in a previous post. I was raised watching all of the James Bond films and I have watched many of them so many times I think it’s interesting to look into some of the backdrops and try and pay more attention to some of the other things being incorporated outside of the main action. One of the buildings that has a reoccurring part as a foundation of the movie is the MI6 Building or the Headquarters for the British Secret Intelligence Service. The British Secret Intelligence Service building is also known as the SIS building, the MI6 building, or most unflattering nickname “lego-land” for it’s hard block shapes like the straight corners of stacked Lego’s.

After a little research I found that the Architect for this building was Terry Farrell and Partners, who have apparently built similar secure facilities in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Most of Terry Farrell’s interests are related to technology and it’s advances so what might seem like a minimalist exterior, is normally completely forgotten once you witness the interior layouts and floor planing, but that is only if you get the opportunity to even enter any of their secure facilities.

Even though gaining entrance is difficult and monitored by tight security, the actual safety provided from the building is minimal. It is mostly made of glass and was reported as “irredeemably insecure”, in a report from the National Audit Office in 1985. Even before being used in the James Bond Films the the security and cloak trying to keep MI6 and the British Secret Intelligence unit hidden and unknown was inevitably impossible. There were even some reports that were saying citizens of the area believed that almost any Taxi driver could take you there, and most likely be able describe everything like a modern day tour guide.

I have just thought this building was so interesting from the first time I saw it used in the movies. To me it resembles a old castle that has been re-arranged and altered to fit into a different layout. The huge blocks of stone on the outer walls and the straight lines just remind me of an old fortress, even though most of of the internal building is made of glass.

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