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Edward Williams Architects completes carbon-neutral Paddington mews retrofit


The zero-carbon emitting office allows for versatility in layout while retaining its intimate domestic atmosphere

Edward Williams Architects has refurbished a house within a picturesque mixed-use mews in London’s Bayswater & Paddington Conservation Area, transforming it into a sustainable office for an investment company focused on sustainable agriculture. The existing building consisted of a brick shell with an internal steel and timber frame structure.

Externally, the architects have responded sensitively to the existing building features with roofing and windows matching the rest of the mews. New structural elements were designed to be fabricated offsite and then bolted together on site to maximise efficiency, reduce installation period and reduce construction waste and noise. 

The office layout responds to the client’s brief for a modern aesthetic with in-built flexibility, with spaces ranging from an informal gathering area for the whole team, smaller spaces for private working and large meeting rooms. The architect has planned the spaces to allow for versatility without detracting from an intimate atmosphere of the former mews house – future proofing with the use of moveable office partitions but retaining a high level of acoustic privacy. 

The mews entrance opens straight into a ground-floor reception which also doubles up as a conference room and dining room for employees. A set of folding, garage-style doors allows natural light to flood into the interior, while also creating a connection to the mews outside.

Paddington mews office (2)

Inspired by exposed brickwork of the existing building, oak panels line the walls inside with exposed oak joists creating a sculptural element to the interior. A bespoke oak staircase connects the ground floor to the first. Cellular offices are divided by moveable glass partitions, allowing different internal configurations. The timber has been pressure-impregnated to achieve a Class 0 fire rating, while negating the need for intrusive fire systems.

The annual predicted carbon emissions for the building are zero as the whole building relies on electricity that the client has committed to source from a sustainable electricity supplier. The scheme incorporates an electric boiler for underfloor heating, no mechanical cooling and natural daylighting on top of other passive sustainable design interventions. 

Paddington mews office (7)

Architect’s view

When we saw the existing neglected shell among a picturesque mews terrace, we jumped at the chance to rekindle the building’s charm and give it a new lease of life for our sustainability-conscious client.

The challenge was to redevelop the existing double-fronted mews building without losing any of its character, but adding additional character where possible. Our design draws out the warm red hues of the existing Victorian brickwork and uses it as a counterpoint to the new structural frame of grey-painted steel supports and solid oak beams, also echoed in wall panelling throughout the scheme.

We restored the building’s characteristic dormer windows and installed glass partition walls, creating an additional storey of bright, useable, flexible office space. For the ground floor spaces, a wood-heavy interior gives an intimate, homely atmosphere to the open plan space which can be used for all occasions – from team lunches to board meetings.

Edward Williams, founding director, Edward Williams Architects

Ewa pm short section

Project data

Start on site August 2017
Completion date November 2018
Gross internal floor area 210m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect Edward Williams Architects
Client Private
Structural engineer Cundall
QS Ridge (stage 2-4); Heasmans (stage 5 onwards)
Acoustic consultant KP Acoustics
Fire engineer Cundall
Party wall surveyor Anstey Horne
CDM adviser Goddard Consulting
Building control London Building Control
Main contractor Lengard
CAD software used Revit
Annual CO2 emissions Zero


Readers' comments (5)

  • Comment to Fran Williams - I believe it would be useful with 'Zero Carbon' projects for the Project Data section, which is very useful, to also state the estimated annual operational energy usage alongside the annual CO2 emissions. Whilst the client's commitment to procuring renewable energy is to be celebrated, from a designer's perspective it is essential from a hierarchical environmental strategy to understand quantitatively how efficient the built form is (estimated to perform). Thank you

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  • This is clearly a scheme designed with a focus on materiality, rather than sustainability. Uninsulated external walls, not even plastered to improve airtightness. Leaky folding doors, loads of steel. Etc etc. No real effort appears to have been made to reduce energy demand.

    Whether eco tariffs really create additional renewable capacity is certainly arguable for some suppliers, but will we really get enough clean power to disregard having to reduce demand? I'm not convinced of this, nor of the purported sustainability of this project in general.

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  • George is right. This is not a viable solution at scale. The infrastructure doesn't exist to run every building in the country as this type of "carbon neutral". 0 effort to reduce energy usage this is buzz words sellotaped onto a nice project.

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  • And what happens if the Client moves out in the future and the new occupier is happy with a standard electricity supplier? This is not sustainable design. The AJ should not be complicit in "green-washing" projects with lazy, click-bait titles.

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  • What was the Building Control/Approved Inspector doing? Really low contrast in internal finishes, open risers in an office space, that glass balustrade at the top with no capping...

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