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First look 

DMFK and Bureau de Change create new workspace in Art Deco building

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Major refurbishment, reconfiguration and extension of a former industrial building in Fitzrovia with a new core and bespoke interior details 

A utilitarian Art Deco building on Rathbone Street in Central London, built originally for the Gas Light and Coke Company, has been transformed into a flexible workspace by DMFK Architects and Bureau De Change for client ISA Holdings.

Now renamed The Gaslight, DMFK Architects has refurbished and reconfigured the original building with a new extension, core and roofline. The new extension is to the rear, has a distinctive zinc-covered roofline inspired by artist’s ateliers and steps back to create terraces to each floor, each overlooking a terrazzo-lined planted garden at ground floor level.

Ed reeve gaslightdrone 6

Ed reeve gaslightdrone 6

Source: Ed Reeve

Two new pavilions also bookend the front façade, while internally the building’s layout has been reconfigured for multiple tenants and uses.

There are three new entrances, one a courtyard entrance into a restaurant unit on the ground floor; one a refurbished entrance in the original core for a lower ground floor gym, and a new entrance in the new core for the workspaces.

Throughout the main building, windows have been enlarged and replaced to rebalance the façade; brickwork has been restored and the original decorative metalwork reinstated.

Inside, the building’s interiors, designed by Bureau de Change, make extensive use of bespoke details, patterns and geometries which reference the building’s original Art Deco design and the history of the area, known for its artisanal workshops.

1909 rathbone st gilbert mccarragher 002 a1 lores

1909 rathbone st gilbert mccarragher 002 a1 lores

Source: Gilbert McCarragher

A new central feature, wrapping around the new circulation core and connecting four floors of offices, is composed of two layers of bronze-coloured filigree mesh generating a moiré effect, with lift interiors detailed with etched mirrors and pentagonal blue leather handrails. 

The entrance doors have hand-turned timber handles, wayfinding uses extruded bronze signs in a distinctive ribbon font, and bathrooms have bespoke terrazzo panelling. 

In the workspaces, exposed services are laid out to complement the ceilings’ existing structural grid; with bespoke joinery and discreet linear lighting accentuating the spaces, while a new mezzanine floor has been inserted into the volume of the new roof.  

1909 rathbone st gilbert mccarragher 026 hires

1909 rathbone st gilbert mccarragher 026 hires

Source: Gilbert McCarragher

Architects’ view

We’ve had the rare chance to work with the family who’ve owned this unique building for decades, who were attuned to its Art Deco history, but also not afraid of change. This attitude has given us the freedom to radically alter the building to meet the needs of the market, whilst restoring and reinventing it.

Julian de Metz, founder, DMFK

We wanted to test the idea of using typically industrial materials and fabrication techniques in a way that is more craftsman-like. The lift core and stairwell uses 85 burnished bronze panels, each laser-cut and folded to create an intricate framework. We worked with 1:1 mock ups – testing every corner detail to ensure the filigree pattern is consistent throughout the building.

Bureau de Change

Section aa

Section aa

Project data 

Start on site June 2017
Completion date November 2019
Gross internal floor area 2170m²
Gross external floor area 2600m² Two-stage traditional
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect DMFK Architects
Interior architect Bureau de Change
Executive architect DMFK Architects
Client ISA Holdings
Structural engineer Michael Hadi Associates
M&E consultant WB Shiels
QS Alford Porter
Acoustic consultant KP Acoustics
Project manager Alford Porter
CDM coordinator Daniel Connal Partnership
Approved building inspector John Miller Partnership
Main contractor Faithdean
CAD software used AutoCAD, Sketchup, Rhino

Environmental performance data

On-site energy generation          Nil
Airtightness at 50pa                    5.0 m³/h.m²
Overall area-weighted U-value    0.48 W/m²K
Design life                                     50 years
Annual CO2 emissions                23.59 fgCO2eq/m²

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