[First look + plans + project data] John Robertson Architects (JRA) has taken the wraps off this 13,600m² retrofit of an eighties office block in the City of London
The comprehensive overhaul for developer British Land transformed a Skidmore Owings and Merrill-designed office building completed in 1989.
Featuring a double-height entrance hall and reception area, the building located on the developer’s Broadgate estate has been realigned to front onto Bishopsgate.
New black anodised aluminium cladding was installed at both ground and mezzanine level to create a ‘contemporary identity’ for the development - according to a statement.
Internal office spaces were reconfigured to improve efficiency and flexibility while mechanical services were relocated to the roof space. The reconfigurations achieved a 450m² increase in lettable floor area.
The overhaul reduced the building’s carbon emissions by sixty percent and landed a BREEAM Excellent rating and B energy performance certificate. The scheme featured sedum roofs, low energy glass and energy efficient lighting while ninety-seven per cent of strip out waste was recycled or reused.
Client: British Land
Architect: John Robertson Architects
Project Manager: M3 Consulting
Main Contractor: Como Interiors
Structural Engineer: Meinhardt
Building Services Engineer: Chapman Bathurst
Sustainability Consultant: Environmental Perspectives
CDM: Capita Symonds
Strip Out Contractor: H Smith (Engineers)
The architect’s view
The building filled the footprint on the site so we couldn’t extend. It sits above Liverpool Street station so we couldn’t dig down. And sitting within one of London’s protected views we couldn’t go up, so we were really constrained by the existing site.
If we were to build the office again it really wouldn’t look that different. It has sixty to one-hundred years of life still left in its structure. And therefore the only compelling case was for refurbishment.
All buildings have opportunities, like personalities. In terms of both economics and sustainability, we don’t believe we can afford to do anything else but refurbish these office buildings. They contain a great deal of embodied carbon, and we can’t just demolish them. It is about re-imagining and re-presenting rather than just refurbishing.
Office buildings of this era were built on the back of economic boom times. But they are now coming to the end of their useful life; things are wearing out and we work differently nowadays. So in order for these buildings to continue and to live up to today’s needs and standards we need to reinvigorate them. It holds lots of opportunities.
- Festus Moffat of John Robertson Architects
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