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FIRST LOOK

MAX Architects completes £38m mixed-use retrofit in Victoria

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A 14,000m² mixed-use building opposite Victoria Station has been retrofitted and extended

Comprising ground-floor retail with office space above and three new floors of residential on top, this £38 million refurbishment project was recently completed by MAX Architects for Royal London Asset Management.

The nine-storey scheme is a major reworking of an existing office building. The three new-build residential floors on top contain 14 private rented sector apartments, while stacked below is 100,000 sq ft (9,290m²) of office space over five storeys, with the ground floor containing a double-height entrance lobby, a shared office hub and retail space. In addition there is secure bicycle storage, changing/storage facilities and a car parking entrance with a car lift.

07 25wilton vbrd dusk. credit to jack hobhouse

07 25wilton vbrd dusk. credit to jack hobhouse

Source: Jack Hobhouse

Architect’s view

Situated in Victoria, London’s fastest changing city centre hub, 25 Wilton faces Victoria Station and fronts two key arterial roads as well as sitting adjacent to the Grade II*-listed Apollo Theatre.

Royal London Asset Management and MAX Architects wanted a bold transformation of the anonymous, existing building to contribute to the ongoing transformation of the hub around the station. Both the townscape prominence and heritage sensitivity of the site shaped MAX Architects’ approach to this challenging and comprehensive redevelopment scheme.

The new building subtly transforms as the viewer moves around it. From the listed buildings to the north, the façade appears simple and restrained; flat planes of projecting glazing with horizontal bands of translucent glass mirror the strong horizontals of its listed Art Deco neighbour. As the viewer moves to the south, these projecting bays break up, increase in complexity and reveal cobalt blue folds which begin to align with the strong verticality of their neighbour to the south. From simple to complex, plain to coloured, the façades animate the experience of moving south along the two arterial roads that pass by the site.

Max 25wilton 069. credit to jack hobhouse

Max 25wilton 069. credit to jack hobhouse

Source: Jack Hobhouse

These ‘fanned’ bays, along with the infill of the existing atria, considerably increase the lettable area and light levels within a new set of highly flexible and efficient office floorplates. They create niches on the perimeter of the workspace, designed to encourage break-out and collaborative working, and providing panoramic views. Combined with an innovative hybrid ceiling, part exposed and part concealed behind an aluminium suspended ceiling, they provide characterful office space designed as a counterpoint to the traditional Cat A which dominates the market in the area. At the top of the building are the 14 high-end serviced apartments.

As you approach the building, the detail of the façade reveals a language of pattern and relief that brings character to the simple palette of materials. The seven-tonne cast concrete column casings are patterned with striations, which are cast into the surface from digitally fabricated moulds. This pattern evolves into a 50m2 artwork in the main lobby, which is cast from glass-reinforced concrete, laced with a polished metallic powder.

12 25 wilton portico. credit to jack hobhouse

12 25 wilton portico. credit to jack hobhouse

Source: Jack Hobhouse

A double-height portico provides a buffer from the busy street. Artist Chloe Steele was commissioned to create a diptych of line drawings from which the water-cut, half-tonne portcullis gates were created. Hand operated, each 3 x 2.5m panel slides up in the morning and down at night, counterweighted by steel in a visible mechanism at the principal entrance.

7 section copy

7 section copy

Source: MAX Architects

Section

Project data

Start on site July 2015
Completion July 2017
Gross internal floor area 14,094m²
Gross internal + external floor area14,700m² + 909m² of roof terraces
Form of contract or procurement route Two-stage Design & Build contract
Construction cost £38 million
Construction cost per m² £2,696
Architect MAX Architects
Executive architect MAX Architects
Client Royal London Asset Management
Structural engineer Waterman Structures
M&E consultant SWECO
QS Gardiner & Theobald
Landscape consultant MAX Architects
Acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates
Project manager Gardiner & Theobald
CDM coordinator Gardiner & Theobald
Approved building inspector MLM
Main contractor Kier
CAD software used MicroStation
Annual CO2 emissions 135,787kg

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