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Empress State Building, Wilkinson Eyre Architects

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Award for most innovative use of aluminium in a building that contributes to its sustainability - Winner

Since it was built in the early 1960s, the Empress State Building has been a familiar south-west London landmark.

The brief given to Wilkinson Eyre was to obtain outline planning consent to refurbish and extend the existing building to provide more than 41,000m 2of high-quality commercial space, while maintaining the vernacular of the original building.

The building's distinctive Y-shaped plan form has been retained but a new lightweight three-storey roof extension and 5.5 metre wide extension to the main south facade from floors 3 to 26 have been added.

The roof extension is set back from the existing facades and capped off with a new revolving bar on the centre line of the building. The architecture of the new elements is distinctly different from the existing building. The floors are clad in an aluminium curtain walling system with glazing inclined outwards dramatically by 5 degrees.

The use of aluminium is integral to the visual appearance and enhanced performance of the building. The extensive use throughout of aluminium products incorporating extrusions and pressings has been crucial in achieving the required quality with economy and speed of construction - the project was completed in just 78 weeks from start on site to finish.

The new design has restored the Empress State Building, giving it new life, enhanced appearance and landmark status.

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