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FIRST LOOK

Piercy & Company completes co-working space in Reading

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A Category B fit-out designed as a shared workspace employs acoustic-enhancing technologies and a ’luxurious’ palette of materials

Piercy & Company has designed a shared workspace for Fora, the company’s fourth ‘pro-working’ space in the UK and the first outside London.

Situated in Reading’s pedestrianised piazza, the project comprises 2,500m² of contemporary workspace over three floors of Thames Tower – a 1970s office block recently reworked by dn-a architects with a new terracotta façade, which sits directly opposite the rebuilt train station.

Fora reading by piercy&company ©jack hobhouse 006

Fora reading by piercy&company ©jack hobhouse 006

Working with the structure of the existing building, Piercy & Company has used a ’luxurious and considered’ palette of materials, including Crittall-style glazed partitions, bespoke fabric curtains and solid timber flooring.

The spaces are tied together by a red steel staircase as a visual and literal focus encouraging movement, while the acoustic performance of the space played a key role in its design. The use of Danish fabric curtains and sound-masking ceiling rafts help to create a range of acoustic characteristics throughout the space.

Architect’s view

We often think about offices like internal landscapes where your task determines the environment you want to be in. With Fora Reading the aim was to make the journey around the spaces engaging and also to provide choice.

At entrance level, the informal reception leads to a series of meeting rooms and event spaces. The entrance-level social spaces are supplemented by a lounge and resident kitchen.

A distinctive red steel stair links to a lounge on the first floor that overlooks the main building reception with a core wall that is lit to display curated pieces of art, orientating the approach to offices and open desks. Two lounges and kitchens on the second floor offer views out over the city and neighbouring square.

Careful consideration of adjacencies of use and acoustic compatibility helped guide the layout – distancing the noisy, social spaces from quiet, focused spaces. Throughout the design process, the focus always returned to the individual’s experience and their ability to move to suit their specific task.

With productivity a key pillar of Fora’s ethos, the overall acoustic performance of spaces was a crucial aspect of the design. Danish fabric curtains and ceiling rafts with sound-masking technologies create a range of acoustic characteristics throughout the space, ranging from lively lounges to hushed phone booths.

Chris Fay, associate, Piercy & Company

190109 thames tower axonometric

190109 thames tower axonometric

Project data

Start on site date March 2018
Contract duration September 2018
Gross internal floor area 2,573m²
Construction cost Undisclosed
Form of contract JCT design and build (two stage)
Client Fora & Brockton Capital
Architect Piercy & Company
Structural engineer Peter Brett Associates
M&E consultant Cundall
QS Jackson Coles
Principal designer Jackson Coles
Lighting consultant Cundall
Main contractor ISG

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