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Rationalisation and reconfiguration in Covent Garden

  • 14 Feb 2018

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Award-winning architectural practice, gpad london, has completed a high-end office refurbishment of CBRE Global Investors’ Seven Dials Warehouse in Covent Garden. Find out more in the latest issue of ABC&D magazine

Seven Dials Warehouse is a Grade II listed building set over five storeys that has been sensitively refurbished to retain its original industrial character, while providing 40,000ft2 of contemporary office workspaces. The wedged-shaped building was constructed in the mid-19th century as an extension to the Combe & Co brewery within the heart of the Seven Dials Conservation Area. 

The £4.4m refurbishment and roof terrace delivers a considered balance between raw industrial character, original refurbished features and high specification 21st century contemporary office design.

Simon Fancourt ARB RIBA, architect at gpad london, commented: “The Seven Dials location is one familiar to Londoners and tourists alike. When refurbishing a Grade II listed building such as Seven Dials Warehouse, we knew that we would need to have a sympathetic approach to the building history and heritage. However, while being sensitive to the past we were challenged by our client with creating a 21st century office workspace. Our brief was to deliver a building design that would attract large global tech companies to London but, more specifically the Covent Garden location, offering something unique within an area rich in character and history.”

"The refurbishment provides building users with a workplace environment that hopes to attract the best employees within a competitive London technology market" gpad london

“The refurbishment provides building users with a workplace environment that hopes to attract the best employees within a competitive London technology market” gpad london

Reminders of the warehouse’s rich heritage have been celebrated throughout gpad’s design, with original features sensitively retained and restored with an industrial-luxe aesthetic. The fusion of original refurbished features and modern design was a complex process that required careful consideration and consultation with both Heritage and Planning Officers. The rationalisation and reconfiguration of the existing ground floor provides a valuable reception space to serve the offices on the upper floors, while providing an improved street presence. The entrance now has large glazed windows, sympathetic street signage and the façade returned to its former raw brickwork.

The sixth floor boasts a valuable new 3,000ft2 roof terrace extension that provides the existing office building with 360o panoramic views for occupants to relax, enjoy and entertain. It is accessed using the bespoke suspended folded steel staircase, designed by gpad london, that appears to levitate above the existing office floor, while bathed in natural light from the existing glass lantern overhead.

30 new cycle storage racks with showers, lockers / drying room, incentivise a healthy lifestyle for occupants and encourages the use of sustainable modes of transport for commuting to the office. This addition has a separate designated entrance and has been connected back to the reception lift lobby to improve building flow, efficiency and connectivity.

On the workplace floors, the existing suspended vaulted ceilings and chilled beams were removed, increasing the floor-to-ceiling head height. New air conditioning FCU’s (fan coil units) have been concealed within Optimus Prime inspired galvanised steel encasements.

The refurbishment provides building users with a workplace environment that hopes to attract the best employees within a competitive London technology market. Employers are, more than ever, looking for ways to improve workplace culture, happiness and productivity. The roof terrace provides the perfect space for cultivating creative collaboration, relaxation and entertainment.

On completion, Seven Dials Warehouse was under offer from a single prospective tenant, Red Bull (which has since signed) – eager to base its HQ within a warehouse offering a unique opportunity.

The 21st century upgrades, rationalisation and reconfiguration of space provides a highly efficient and enjoyable building that boasts 92% efficiency with just 1% primary circulation to NIA.

A BREEAM rating of Very Good was targeted and achieved with a score of 57.68%. Most importantly, the design team’s shared passion and determination for delivering a truly unique building has been translated into the finished scheme.

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