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Squire & Partners completes creative business block in Shoreditch


The Frames, arranged over five storeys, is designed to offer flexible workspace for new and growing companies

The with 7,400mbuilding just south of Old Street in London contains office and studio units alongside shared meeting rooms, break-out areas, bicycle storage, shower facilities and a café.

The Frames has a material palette of brick, metal and glass, which is designed to complement the surrounding South Shoreditch Conservation Area. Brick columns are interrupted by Cor-ten-clad window reveals on the lower façade, while the top two floors are set back and feature perforated aluminium fins which provide solar shading.  

The interior palette is characterised by ‘raw’ materials and finishes such as polished concrete floors, exposed soffits, Cor-ten-clad lift cores and a folded steel staircase.  

Squire and partners the frames 09 jim stephenson screen res

Squire and partners the frames 09 jim stephenson screen res

Architect’s view

Interiors at The Frames were designed to create a relaxed and comfortable aesthetic in contrast to the raw industrial finishes of the building. Inspiration was drawn from traditional trades in Shoreditch, including textile manufacturing, printing and furniture-making. On entering the building, the striking mural by artist Mr Jago establishes a vibrant colourscape for the reception, and acts as a backdrop to a folded perforated metal staircase. At the summit of the metal staircase is an open plan first-floor breakout space with workspace units beyond, and a glazed bridge which links to a glass-walled meeting room – the Mr Jago artwork extending into the room to create a feature wall. Chair upholstery fabrics are selected to highlight the vibrant orange tones in the artwork.

Henry Squire, partner, Squire & Partners

Theframes elevation 01

Theframes elevation 01

Project data 

Start on site April 2016
Completion October 2018
Gross internal floor area 7,343m2
Form of contract Traditional 
Construction cost £25 million
Construction cost per m2 £2,580
Architect Squire & Partners
Client Workspace
Structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti
Main contractor HG Construction
M&E consultant Furness Green
QS Pierce Hill
Reception artwork Mr Jago
Planning consultant GVA
Environmental consultant Etude
Acoustic consultant Applied Acoustic Design
Approved building inspector BCA (Building Control Approval)
CAD software used MicroStation
Annual CO2 emissions 103,800kg 


Readers' comments (3)

  • It would be good to see some images of the context, given that this is in a Conservation Area.

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  • Even the address would help! It's at the junction of Scrutton St and Phipp St.

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  • Having located it on Google Earth and viewed no less than three different ages of Google Streetview (Sept 2014, June 2016 and Feb 2018) in the area, the context is clarified, and Henry Squire's concentration on describing the interior attributes of the building is entirely understandable, given the sadly banal architecture in comparison to a good deal of the neighbouring older buildings - and even to the design of the client's ivy-adorned modern Holywell Centre that formerly occupied the site.
    For all the attention to detail, and interesting treatment of the penthouse facade, this building is a dismal failure in architectural terms, as demonstrated by 'before' (missing in the AJ) and 'after' views.
    However, the architects have presented the Workspace Group with an increase in floor area from 21,000 sq ft to 55,000 sq ft - and presumably a commensurate increase in tax revenue to the local authority.
    Could this explain why the design was granted planning approval in the South Shoreditch Conservation Area - or were the planners 'asleep on the job', or otherwise incapacitated?
    It needs a latterday Iain Nairn and Gorden Cullen to expose the steady 'dumbing down' of the character of parts of London that's proceeding apace; the architects of the Holywell centre were far more successful than Squire and Partners in creating 'new build' that complemented its setting.

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