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Mirror image: Hawkins\Brown restores and extends Southwark warehouse

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The original 1890s building and its new contemporary dopplegänger were fitted out internally by Architecture00 and Studio Weave

The ‘raw nature’ of the existing Victorian warehouse at 53 Great Suffolk Street, as well as a desire to respect the industrial and cultural streetscape, led to this retrofit which provides 40,000 square feet of office space for marketing agency George P Johnson.

The insertion of a new floor into the existing footprint more than doubled the available space without increasing the building’s massing, with the new floor cantilevering to divert the extra weight to the foundations of the new build rather than the original warehouse. 

Hawkins Brown  53 Great Suffolk Street   c  Jim Stephenson  11

Hawkins Brown 53 Great Suffolk Street c Jim Stephenson 11

The roughness of the Victorian building was matched with hand-blended clinker bricks for the extension, which introduce variations of colour across the facade, marked by large apertures mirroring those in the existing building.

Internally, services were left exposed and a cantilevered ‘raw steel’ staircase sits within a glazed enclosure as a focal point for the office floors. Architecture00 and Studio Weave worked with this approach for their ‘crafted’ tenant fit out, using timber and oak joinery.

1394 53GSS GroundFloorPlanForPublication

53 Great Suffolk Street by Hawkins\Brown

Source: Hawkins\Brown

Ground floor plan

Architect’s view

Our approach to retain as much of the existing structure as possible stemmed from both a design and an environmental impact perspective. The subsequent challenge was to create a new building, which finds the right balance between complementing the existing structure and creating a strong, contemporary and contextual extension. The resulting building offers generous, adaptable spaces that have been complemented by Architecture00 and Studio Weave’s fit-out, providing a versatile and futureproof place that inspires creativity and is enjoyable to be in.

Seth Rutt, partner, Hawkins\Brown

In designing a new home for GPJ, the challenge of the brief was to accommodate this creative, people-centred organisation in an efficient and natural manner, whilst using their work environment to communicate who they are and what they do. As such, we have tried to create a workspace that does not constrain employees within a singular corporate style, but one that reflects the individuality, diversity and dynamism within the agency. We see the design as an invitation to all at GPJ to adopt, add to, and ultimately express themselves within.

Ryan McLoughlin, architect, Architecture 00 

Project data

Client Morgan Capital Partners LLP
Architect (shell, core, lobby) Hawkins\Brown
Tenant client George P Johnson
Tenant fit out architect Architecture00 and Studio Weave
Project manager Workman PLC
Contractor Iconic Build
Structural engineer F J Samuely and Partners
Mechanical & electrical consultant Watkins Payne Partnership

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