Quite how I could have missed this dramatic entrance for over twenty years I don’t know!
When I first noticed it about a month ago I was comforted that some people who actually work in the building, the reception and security staff in the building’s management suite, hadn’t noticed it either.
The Endangered Species Doorway stands around 20 feet high. The sculptural work in Portland stone is by Barry Baldwin and features a host of animals at risk of extinction.
This image is of the key-stone and is a self-portrait. On the artist’s wrist, his watch is caught symbolically at “the eleventh hour”.
Elsewhere on the building are 28 other portraits. "The majority depict individuals involved in the rebuilding project from Clients through to Architects, Engineers, Designers, and Contractors.” He did also manage to immortalise an ex-girlfriend too!
Grand Buildings replaced the earlier Grand Hotel which was demolished in 1986. The new building was completed for Land Securities in 1991. They have since sold the site.
In addition to this doorway, the artist produced work on a similar theme for another Land Securities project, the former Saga Building in Victoria.
Barry Baldwin is now based in California but there is a BBC Wiltshire feature on him when he was still a local artist. A lot more information about his work can also be found at his site baldwinsculptor.com and his Facebook group. I also found useful comments on this work from Baldwin’s current partner, Junko, in this Flickr discussion.