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FIRST LOOK

Cartwright Pickard’s warehouse-to-workplace conversion in Sheffield

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This reworking of a disused red-brick warehouse integrates a new double-height steel infill structure to create approximately 1,600m² of commercial workspace

The scheme is the first stage of the Alsop Fields regeneration project, within the Cultural Industries Quarter, a key conservation area in central Sheffield. It is a sympathetic reinvention of the city’s creative industrial heritage, providing a design-hub office space that accommodates the next generation of creative industry in Sheffield. 

01 Albert Works Tom Kahler

01 Albert Works Tom Kahler

Source: Tom Kahler

Architect’s view

This initial phase of Alsop Fields has provided 1,500sqm of bespoke HQ office space for Jaywing, a key local digital marketing agency. The resultant scheme has been the result of a close engagement and debate with Sheffield design panel, planners and conservation team to kick start a viable regeneration scheme that sits sympathetically and functionally within a significant conservation area of Sheffield.

The refurbished structures [Albert Works and 94 Matilda Street] were identified as ‘buildings of interest’ within the CIQ conservation area by Sheffield’s conservation team. From early site appraisals, it was identified that further existing buildings were also of sound stability to be refurbished with the remaining existing in-fill roof structures and lean-to buildings identified to be demolished resulting in 54% of retained structure forming the new workplace.

At the core of the refurbishment plans, a new steel structure creates a large double-height infill within a tight urban block. Exposing the steel frame and expressing the co-ordinated junctions to a high visual quality at both the walkway and roof level has ensured that this scheme has re-enhanced the industrial heritage of the buildings, appropriate within the history of Sheffield. This considered approach has been the result of close engagement with the structural engineer, construction manager and steel contractors from concept through to installation to ensure a high visual and functional quality was achieved within the varying levels and tolerances across the existing buildings.

09 Albert Works Tom Kahler

09 Albert Works Tom Kahler

Source: Tom Kahler

Retention and re-use of the existing building masonry, including that from demolished structures, has been maximised to provide a fully restored and refurbished building stock. The building envelope has been completed along Matilda Street by a new build external wall construction and along the Porter Brook courtyard by modern curtain wall glazing. The new elements of external envelope have been clad in a series of solid and expamet bronzed aluminium cladding added to the upper level extensions. This sympathetically and concisely distinguishes the new from old when reading the building from outside. The use of expamet screens in front of large high level windows provides solar shading to the internal space whilst enhancing a modern take on the ‘gable’ roofscape common to the area.

A landscaped courtyard to the Porter Brook completes the urban block refurbishment development which is enhanced by the restoration of the old industrial chimney.

Bespoke internal features developed by 93ft, Interior Designers, have utilised, and where possible reclaimed and restored, common industrial elements to sympathetically create a purpose-built workplace from industrial heritage into today’s digital era. This has delivered a raw, honest and contemporary interior, whilst maintaining and honouring the previous lives of these buildings that focuses on operational functionality and staff wellbeing.

Innovation was required to sympathetically transition the existing buildings into modern office space. It was apparent at early stages that a raised access floor within the central open plan office would not be aesthetically appropriate to the refurbishment plans of Albert Works, nor would it be in-keeping with the flood defence strategy of the adjacent Porter Brook. As such, a new polished structural concrete floor has been installed with a series of lateral service trenches that provide both power and data for the run of desks to ‘plug in’ to. 

00 Albert Works Tom Kahler

00 Albert Works Tom Kahler

Source: Tom Kahler

The building form and services have been developed with the M+E contractor to operate under means of natural ventilation with the refurbished perimeter office spaces feeding into the new build double-height central office and removing exhaust air through a series of roof cowls at ridge level of the new 3no pitched roofs.

The enhanced retention of existing buildings has also advanced the sustainable credentials of the delivered scheme by reducing the amount of embodied energy and waste from construction demolition and subsequent new-build.

The delivery of this scheme has been a proud success story for all parties involved. It has been the kick-start for the wider regeneration plans of Elmsdale Estates, it has positively changed the way Jaywing works as a group and more importantly it has brought a previously redundant industrial building into the forefront of today’s digital creative industry within the heart of a significant conservation area off Sheffield.

Ian Walsh, associate, Cartwright Pickard

albert works ground floor plan copy

albert works ground floor plan copy

Source: Cartwright Pickard

Ground floor plan

Project data 

Completion April 2007
Gross internal floor area 1,600m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Cartwright Pickard
Client Elmsdale Estates  
Tenant Jaywing
Interior architect 93ft
Structural engineer DP2
M&E consultant Shearstone Mechanical
Construction management JPM Construction 

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