Transformational change for 60s ugly office building
The north London building that famously displays a sign saying ‘Ugly building, nice clothes’, has had a multi-million pound make-over to transform a warehouse into a very attractive, light, airy, modern office space with many sustainable features.
Clarkebond was appointed by British clothing retailer Boden to provide civil, structural and geotechnical services on the project to refurbish and expand their head office and warehouse premises on Victoria Road in north London.
The transformation from warehouse to modern office space included the full upgrade of the building envelope with new cladding, new windows and curtain walling. The former roof car-park asphalt deck was replaced by a new warm roof design with a proprietary car park system laid on top. Automatic opening vents and additional skylights were formed.
Internally, a new steel mezzanine was installed to accommodate over 300 staff who now benefit from great views across the inside of the building. New mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are exposed throughout and cleverly designed bespoke joinery and furniture compliment the workspaces and break-out zones.
The building was originally constructed in the mid-60s. As part of the overall refurbishment strategy, the thermal performance of the external envelope cladding was upgraded and Clarkebond instigated an offset structural grid system to the original structures with the internal designer at the outset in order minimise the extent of new substructures for the new mezzanine. All the new stanchions are tactically positioned approximately half way in between the existing column grid system where possible. This arrangement provided an opportunity to simplify the substructure foundation which minimised the need for a complex cantilevered ground beam solution and the likelihood of potential obstructions imposed by the existing foundation. This has provided a substantial saving in the substructure works for the scheme.
“Many buildings built in the 60s and 70s are considered to no longer meet today’s requirements,” comments Clarkebond Regional Director, Theodore Tai. “This project shows that we don’t need to write these buildings off and demolish them. Re-working the building can be a more sustainable solution that brings them up to up to standard”.
Phase 2, now underway, will see the 5 storey office block with the ‘ugly’ sign, re-furbished and neatly connected to the warehouse to make one complete space.
Client: J P Boden
Property Agent: Cushman and Wakefield
Building Services: Elementa