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Pilbrow & Partners gets green light for EMI factory office conversion

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Pilbrow & Partners has secured planning permission to convert part of EMI’s famous record factory at Hayes into a shared workspace

The London-based heritage specialists will turn the Powerhouse at the Old Vinyl Factory into 2,700m² innovation hub.

Regeneration specialist U+I is backing the project, part of the wider overhaul of the site, and will use the building for its Plus X business, which offers flexible offices alongside facilities such as workshops and laboratories.

Studio Egret West masterplanned the £250 million redevelopment of the Middlesex factory, gaining outline permission in 2012. Originally designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners in the 1920s, the buildings are where all the Beatles LPs were pressed, as well as many other records through the 1960s and ’70s.

In 2015 Studio Egret West was also granted reserved matters consent for the conversion of the Powerhouse into an energy centre, a café and an events space.

However, last year Pilbrow & Partners was brought in to rework these initial designs and create an office-focused scheme for Plus X instead.

Last month Hillingdon Borough Council’s major applications planning committee gave approval for Pilbrow & Partners’ revised designs. These will also include an energy centre and a café as well as meeting rooms, private member studios and flexible desk-working opportunities.

Powerhouse sew left and pilbrow right

Evolution of Powerhouse plans: Studio Egret West’s original scheme from 2015 (left) and Pilbrow & Partners’ approved office-led proposal, approved in 2019 (right)

Evolution of Powerhouse plans: Studio Egret West’s original scheme from 2015 (left) and Pilbrow & Partners’ approved office-led proposal, approved in 2019 (right)

A two-storey extension will be built with a timber façade while an original Blyth Road frontage will be restored. Floor plates will be arranged to promote natural light.

Councillors voted in line with a recommendation from planning officers, who said the scheme would ’reinforce the transformation of the area and make a positive architectural statement’.

U+I, which is a partner in Plus X, plans to roll out a number of similar hubs across London, Brighton and Manchester. These are designed to help create connections between businesses, students, and the community.

Pilbrow & Partners founding partner Tal Ben-Amar said: ‘The Powerhouse building will create inspiring incubator spaces that support creative businesses to grow. Our design will create a modern, healthy work environment centred around a courtyard, café and exhibition space which highlight the triple-height volume of the original powerhouse.’

U+I chief development officer Richard Upton added: ‘The Plus X Innovation Hub will further position the Old Vinyl Factory as a world-class creative and innovative campus. Our partnership with Plus X will allow us to unlock potential and drive business growth, innovation, collaboration and positive social impact among occupants and further transform the local area.’

The broader Old Vinyl Factory redevelopment will feature 642 homes, 5,000m² of office space, an academy and retail and leisure facilities, including a cinema.

Newground Architects last year completed a residential scheme within the development, a few months after Studio Egret West finished the first homes for market sale.

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