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FIRST LOOK

Burwell Architects refurbishes Art Deco former factory for second time

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The 4,588m² former garment factory in London’s West End has been retrofitted to create flexible office space

After previously completing a light-touch refurbishment of the same building over 10 years ago, Burwell Architects was commissioned again to undertake a more comprehensive retrofit of this former garment factory on Great Titchfield Street, London.

Within the existing Art Deco structure, in addition to stripping back past alternations to the interiors, the practice has removed false ceilings to increase floor-to-ceiling heights and refurbished existing rooflights to bring in more light. The works also reveals original features such as bespoke moulded architraves, brick walls and riveted iron columns.

Elsleyhouse 5 hr s 1

Burwell Architects selected a material palette of mirrored surfaces, laser-cut metal detailing, terrazzo floors and glazed ceramics to reflect the building’s Art Deco character.

The fifth-floor office now has access to a roof terrace complete with stepped seating, while a larger roof terrace has also been created on the sixth floor.

Construction work was carried out while the existing tenants remained in situ, rationalising facilities, improving circulation and providing level access to make the building accessible. A secondary service core was added to connect floors and permit further flexibility.

Elsleyhouse s hr 1

Architect’s view

Throughout the building, interventions complement and enhance the original Art Deco structure. Office spaces have been transformed through a series of simple steps: false ceilings have been removed to increase floor to ceiling heights, and existing roof lights have been refurbished to bring in soft, natural light. Past alterations to the interior have been stripped back, with original features – such as bespoke moulded architraves, brick walls, and riveted iron columns, re-exposed and restored along the way. Complementing the 1930s character, a carefully curated material palette has been used, including mirrored surfaces, laser-cut metal detailing, terrazzo floors and glazed ceramics. The materials for both internal and external spaces were selected to be robust, hard-wearing and long-lasting.

Wherever possible, the building’s fabric and services have been upgraded to protect the longevity of the structure. As a result, beams have been replaced, damaged brickwork repaired, and original window frames have been restored and fitted with individual micro double-glazed units, whilst minimising the visual impact upon the façade.

Underused spaces have been used to provide additional, high-quality breakout amenities for the occupants. A fifth-floor office now benefits from access to a new and beautifully landscaped roof terrace, complete with stepped seating and attractive planting. A second, more generous roof terrace has been created on the sixth floor, providing tenants with an opportunity to gather and relax in the open air, while taking in a piece of central London’s roofscape. All garden roof spaces are designed to allow shared or sole occupancy, dependent upon future needs.

Further, promoting a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle, the refurbishment encourages the involvement in ‘cycle-to-work’ schemes. Cyclists can now easily access the lower ground positioned renovated cycle storages and improved shower/changing facilities, directly from street level via industrial lifts.

With existing tenants in situ, a key challenge was to proceed with the work whilst minimising disturbance and maintaining easy access for the occupants. To future-proof services, facilities have been rationalised and reordered to create clean, usable and flexible office spaces. The overall circulation within the building has been vastly improved, and a level access makes the building fully accessible. A secondary service core has been created to connect several floors, allowing occupants to expand their offices, yet remain self-contained. This arrangement ensures flexible use and permits accommodation for both short-term and long-term occupants. The building’s full potential has been harnessed bringing underused spaces into use as breakout zones for occupants as well as a series of new roof terraces, thereby providing beautifully planted areas for relaxation, designed to allow shared or sole occupancy, dependent upon future needs.

Burwell Architects

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Lower ground floor plan

Client’s view

Elsley House is looking fantastic. We love the designs; from the way the new entrance sequence works and feels much less cluttered, to the cleaner materials used in the entrance on Great Titchfield Street and the various terraces and open spaces, the whole building feels really special.

Toby Courtald, chief executive, Great Portland Estates

764 sk 200406 aw03 elsleygroundfloor

Ground floor plan

Project data

Architect Burwell Architects
Client Great Portland Estates
Start on site August 2018
Completion date July 2019
Form of contract Design and build
Construction cost £8.9 million
Cost per m² £1,959
Gross internal area 4,588m²
Structural engineer AKT II
M&E consultant ChapmanBDSP
Quantity surveyor Gardiner and Theobald
Project manager RPS Group
CDM co-ordinator Burwell Architects
Approved inspector MLM Building Control
Planning consultant Gerald Eve
Lighting consultant Burwell Architects
Main contractor FaithDean
CAD software used Vectorworks

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