This 16-storey White Collar Factory tower will soon stand tall at the Old Street roundabout in London EC1
Featuring big spans, flexible floor plates, windows that open, large volumes and robust construction, it is a ‘new’ office building type that takes its cues from the multilevel factory typology. Behind, a redundant service yard will be transformed and reoriented into a new public realm that responds to the wider city. A series of new alleys and passages will connect the square and tower to two existing and three new buildings – all of four to five storeys and offering a mix of living and working spaces.
The tower will accommodate 19,984m2 of highly adaptable workspace. A few of its facade details – inboard columns and a high-performance curtain wall system skirted by perimeter trench heating – vary somewhat from lower-rise WCF variants, but otherwise all WCF principles – deep plan, openable windows, high ceilings of exposed concrete slabs containing heating/cooling pipes and minimal mechanical ventilation – remain the same. What results is a series of simple, generous volumes that are cost-effective and inherently flexible.
A full-scale working prototype (a 325m2 slice of an entire floor, AJ 25.04.13) currently stands on stilts on the site to demonstrate to prospective occupiers exactly how it looks and works.
Simon Allford, director, AHMM