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Buckley Gray Yeoman completes ‘utilitarian’ start-up workspace in Old Street


The building’s design focuses on simplicity, function and spatial quality with floorplates designed to suit small businesses

Buckley Gray Yeoman has completed Verse, a new-build workplace development near London’s Old Street. The design, servicing and construction are designed to provide space for small businesses, which have underpinned the area’s economic regeneration over the past two decades but that are now being squeezed out. 

A low build cost of under £3,000/m² was achieved by making use of steel-frame construction, braced with precast concrete floor slabs, designed to recall the utilitarian approach to construction in Shoreditch of re-using industrial buildings as office space.

In addition the scheme is intended to provide a quality of space, light and materials with amenities such as a concierge and showers and bike storage in the basement. 

Buckley gray yeoman verse building credit will scott (11)

Buckley gray yeoman verse building credit will scott (11)

Source: Will Scott

Situated in an area where many new developments have been characterised by large floorplates, the building’s floorplates of just over 2,000sqft and its simple orthogonal plan – with a circulation core to one side and bathroom core to the other – are intended to suit start-up companies in an area known for its cluster of tech talent.   

The building has underfloor air conditioning and openable windows for natural ventilation. Full-height glazing on the north and south elevations wrap around onto the west elevation to help maximise access to natural light. The exposed steel and concrete soffit gives a floor-to-ceiling height of 2.9m, intended to enhance the feeling of light and space.

Parking space for 48 bicycles is provided alongside shared end-of-journey facilities in the basement.

Buckley gray yeoman verse building credit will scott (7)

Buckley gray yeoman verse building credit will scott (7)

Source: Will Scott

Architect’s view

Verse provides office space ideal for small companies with occupancy requirements of up to 30 employees per floor – the bedrock of the Shoreditch office market. This type of space has become increasingly scarce as demand has risen and redevelopment has seen older buildings replaced with larger-floorplate schemes.

Buckley Gray Yeoman was established 22 years ago in a Shoreditch building with similarly sized floors, but a world away in terms of comfort. We’ve made this building deliver for occupiers by being innovative in our construction method and focusing on the spatial qualities that matter to small businesses. I hope that Verse provides the next generation of Shoreditch entrepreneurs with the space they need to take their businesses from start-up to scale-up.

Matt Yeoman, founding director, Buckley Gray Yeoman

Verse drawings page 1crop

Verse drawings page 1crop

Source: Buckley Gray Yeoman

Typical floor plan

Project data 

Start on site April 2018
Completion March 2020
Gross internal floor area 2,260m²
Form of contract Design and Build
Construction cost £6.7 million
Construction cost per m² £2,981
Architect Buckley Gray Yeoman
Client LBS Properties
Structural engineer Heyne Tillett Steel
M&E consultant chapmanbdsp
QS Quantem Consulting
Planning consultant Savills
Fire engineer chapmanbdsp
Rights of light and party wall consultant GIA
Surveys Plowman Craven
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown
Agents Colliers
Project manager Quantem Consulting
CDM co-ordinator ORSA
Building control MLM
Main contractor Blenheim House Construction
CAD software used Vectorworks, SketchUp
On-site energy generation 17kWp solar array
Airtightness at 50Pa 5m³/h.m²        
Design life 25 years


Readers' comments (2)

  • Talking of the 'quality of space, light and materials', could this architecture best be described as introvert? - almost entirely self centred, with little (or no) respect for the character of the street outside?
    Slick detailing, but what if the neighbours get replaced in similar style?

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  • everything's pretty good about this, except
    that flimsy cross bracing, apparently fixed through the plaster (though i'm sure it isn't !). All a bit scary!

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