The client wanted to improve the reception space as it was cramped and out-dated as well as gain extra lettable area on the first floor by extending the floor plate out on both levels. The client also wanted to modernise the office spaces and WCs on the office floors and provide bike storage and shower facilities for the tenants in the basement
We extended the reception and first floor out as far as possible to regain some lost space created by the unattractive set back on the ground and first floors. In reception we changed the layout, moving the reception desk, the entrance door and new access into the GF office from reception. Removing the overhang on ground and first floor created a light and open reception, giving the building a more positive relationship with the streetscape and making the building more inviting as a whole.
The graphic geometry used in the façade and the bold use of gold in the new windows help give the building a new identity. On the office floors we removed the plasterboard ceilings and exposed the concrete soffit that we painted white. The exposed services make full use of the floor to ceiling height, making the offices feel more open and light. We replaced back painted panels of glass with glass pains to make the most of the views onto the historic playing fields at the back of the building, again with the aim of opening the building up and making it feel as light as possible. The office WCs were also remodelled and brought up to current standards, with finishes and motifs that are carried through the entire building (the polished plaster and the circles).
We also reconfigured the fire escape strategy to gain net lettable area on the ground floor.
The main constraint was that the building was more than half occupied during the works which meant that logistics on site were tight. Timescales were also very tight on the project with a very short construction programme.
An existing UKPN substation also had t incorporated into the scheme with access retained
Special Features The terrazzo flooring in reception- bespoke geometric pattern The curved polished plaster walls in reception The use of gold in the façade The mesh in the main façade and the huge circles
Material Concept We chose the gold for the new curtain wall glazing to complement the existing Portland Stone cladding of the building. The gold is also reference to the building’s location at the edge of the city where the architectural style is very eclectic and diverse, we channelled this sense of “anything goes”and took the opportunity to have a bit of fun with the geometric motif of the façade and the striking gold. The choice of mesh was made to create a layered façade adding playfulness to a rather austere and regimented building. The layering of the mesh in front of the glass gives unusual views out of the building, framing the streetscape outside. The idea of how people would perceive the building façade from outside was also an important element of the design, as the mesh appears to change as you pass the building, revealing the circle motif.The terrazzo and the polished plaster were used to give subtle texture to the interior of the building, to prevent the building being too slick and corporate whilst none the less giving a sense of luxury which references the buildings proximity to the city.