A sense of tradition endures in “The City,” London's historic financial district, despite years of economic turmoil. Bankers may have abandoned the bowler hat and sometimes even the necktie, but not the well-cut Savile Row suit. And if you turn off King William Street, a few steps from the venerable Bank of England, onto the narrow medieval St. Swithin's Lane, you'll encounter another kind of bespoke: a work of custom-tailored contemporary architecture so artfully stitched into the tight urban fabric that it seems a perfect fit.
The Rothschild family has occupied this discreet plot, called New Court, since 1809, and its new headquarters is the fourth building the private bank has constructed on the site. The last—a 1960s six-story office block—was inadequate for the rapidly expanding staff, and in 2006, OMA won an invited competition to design a building that could accommodate the entire Rothschild team under one roof. The former building was razed to make way for the new.