Jacob Loftus, head of UK investment at Resolution, explains the developer’s focus on the ‘creative office’ and what it looks for in architects
What projects are you working on?
We’ve just completed Alphabeta (designed by Studio RHE), which was a 22,000m² repositioning of an iconic former insurance company office HQ into a prime Shoreditch office development focusing on the tech and creative industries. The design was focused around combining an engaging architectural design with an amenity-rich environment, which would make it a compelling and dynamic place. We celebrate cycling and sustainability and so developed a 40m ride-in cycle ramp for employees to ride into the building straight down into a 300-space bike park, complete with shower area and on-site bike mechanic.
Also in London, we’re working on the Old Gramophone Works in Ladbroke Grove – a former record factory on the Regent’s canal, which is being redeveloped into a waterside 9,000m² creative office hub for music, fashion and design companies. We have also just acquired Black Lion House in Whitechapel, a former 80s office building, which will be partially reclad, extended by three storeys and internally reimagined as a creative office building for tech businesses in east London.
I’ll often pick up the phone to any architect that has done work I’ve found inspiring, and meet the team for a coffee
In Bristol, Pithay – a vacant 17,000m² 1960s building once home to the Fry’s Chocolate factory – is being entirely repurposed as a home and hub for the Bristol creative and media world. With such a rich cultural and artistic history we are keen to really deliver a new hub in the heart of the city centre. This follows another project we’re on site with in Bristol: Colston Tower, an early 1960s Art-Deco-inspired 15-storey office tower near the waterfront.
What architects have you worked with?
Currently, we’re working with BuckleyGrayYeoman, Studio RHE and Childs and Sulzmann Architects. We’ve also worked with a number of great architects including Hawkins\Brown, Stanton Williams, Ben Adams Architects and Will Alsop.
How exactly did these relationships come about?
I have a keen interest in design and architecture and I am a regular reader of the AJ and other architecture publications. I’ll often pick up the phone to any architecture practice that has done work I’ve found inspiring, and meet the team for a coffee.
What is the creative office of today?
It’s a combination of inspiring architectural design and creating an environment that allows employees to enjoy coming to work every day. The lines between the office, the coffee shop and your living room at home have never been more blurred. In my opinion, as a developer our responsibility is to create buildings that engage and inspire businesses, and create environments that foster and encourage communication, productivity and different thinking.
Too many people think a creative office is just some exposed brickwork and an Italian coffee machine. That is far too superficial. As the original guru of creative offices David Rosen of Pilcher Hershman frequently reminds me, it’s all about ‘volume, light and character’ – three principles we try and maximise as best as possible in all our schemes.
I believe in creating ‘experiential’ real estate. My ambition for our creative offices is to deliver an environment that puts a smile on the face of everyone who works there, every time they arrive at the building.
Alphabeta by Studio RHE
Source: Hufton + Crow
What schemes are on the horizon and how can architects get involved?
We have some new and interesting projects on the immediate horizon and are always keen to meet architects who share our vision of creating inspiring and dynamic spaces. For me, the best architects are those who push the boundaries and force me as a client to think outside of my comfort zone; I want to be challenged by the designers I work with. That is the way great buildings are created and new benchmarks are established. My goal is to rethink and rebase the industry norms with each project we do, whether it’s an office, residential or retail scheme.
How did you get to your position at the age of just 27?
I’ve been extremely fortunate in my professional career. I joined Resolution straight out of university at 21, and through a combination of luck and hard work the stars aligned to allow me to progress extremely quickly. Ultimately I owe a lot to the team I work with, all of whom are extremely supportive and share the creative vision and drive to deliver inspiring and forward-thinking projects.
What excites you about architecture?
Architecture is art we get to live in and interact with every single day. The ability to shape the way which we live, work and shop in is just such a powerful idea. It’s a really great responsibility. For me, architecture must stimulate a reaction – positive or negative. Far too many new buildings today just blend in the background. That is my worst nightmare!