Buildings designed as workplaces demand a long life and a loose fit to accommodate ever changing attitudes and patterns of work. The more successful workplaces are increasingly self-explanatory to use, low in energy consumption and often innovative in construction and layout. We believe our work in this sector, continually achieves these aims at an exemplary level, whilst concentrating on doing as much with as little as possible, and embracing the raw quality of the ‘material’ constructed or found to create honest, unobtrusive and environmentally responsive spaces and buildings; often reusing, certainly recycling and increasingly up-cycling where the opportunities arise.
Perhaps unusually so for the size and age of our practice we have successfully forged a degree of expertise in this sector, having completed numerous important projects for many of the leading property and estate developers of our time, including Derwent London and Stanhope, and more recently Argent and British Land, with our repeat work for many of these clients bearing witness to the continuing high calibre of our delivery. In 2011 our project at Maple Place and Fitzroy Street for Derwent London received an RIBA Award, as well as receiving a NLA award and a shortlist in the 3R Awards of the same year. In addition our 12,500sqft refurbishment of a Victorian warehouse at 3-4 Hardwick Street, completed in 2013, for Derwent London, has been shortlisted for an RICS London Award 2014.
However, our most important completed workplace to date is the project at 141-145 Curtain Road project, for Vitcorp Ltd (shortlisted for an RIBA Award 2014, London Region). This is a project about place, about context, about history, about the organic and evolutional nature of the city canvas, about contrasts, about nerve, about verve. This is about breaking the mould of corporate roll out solutions, about dispelling the myth that work places need to look at certain way, and that the commercial sector cannot support conceptual and strategic solutions formed around narrative, programme and place.
All of these factors are what make 141-145 Curtain Road what it is. It is by no means perfect, and it doesn’t try to be. It raises eyebrows, forces opinions, creates divides and tackles prejudices. This is a building of Shoreditch in Shoreditch. This is a building which frames the city and is framed by the city. Above all, this is a building which recognises the demands of a city in constant flux, where the historical and the contemporary can cooperate.