Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Transforms historic London buildings into progressive new workplace, Alphabeta in England by Studio RHE
September 20th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Studio RHE
Alphabeta by Studio RHE offers a dynamic and adaptable workplace on the intersection between Shoreditch and the City of London, successfully attracted media and technology companies alongside financial sector tenants.
The £48million retrofit of three separate buildings, originally built between 1910-30 and consolidated into Triton Court in the 1980s, involved a complete refurbishment and rooftop extension of the premises. The project increased the net internal area by 17% to create 22,300sq m (240,000sq ft) of accommodation that rethinks the typical City of London office format.
Studio RHE’s design redefines the concept of the workplace through its offering of extensive shared work and social space. Key to this is the nine-storey, 750sq m glazed atrium, conceived as the dynamic, social heart of the building. At ground floor level, furnishings and installations, including a 5m long ‘kitchen’ table, a paneled library area, a café and a basketball court encourage activity and interaction. The curved reception desk morphs into a high bar for touchdown working as it wraps around a timber and bronze clad staircase to the lower ground level. A large selection of finishes, including exposed concrete, ceramic tile, back painted glass and charred timber create further visual variety.
At upper levels, the atrium is animated on the glazed east and west elevations by six cantilevered meeting rooms projecting three metres into the space. The north elevation is clad in vertical planks with double-height frameless glass openings, while the south elevation is clad in untreated mild steel sheets with horizontally oriented openings.
Cycling provision is an important component of Alphabeta’s shared facilities. Studio RHE has embraced this as a design feature with the inclusion of a cycle ramp from street level down to the lower ground floor, where there is cycling storage for 250 bikes and adjacent changing rooms and lockers. The ramp is clearly visible from the atrium through a glazed screen, to animate this key central space.
New access from Worship Street creates an alternative Shoreditch entrance to the Finsbury Square way in, reinforcing the mixed tenancy profile.
Studio RHE stripped out previous fit-outs and reworked the compartmentalised floor plates to create more efficient, open and better lit workspace. Throughout, the aim was to embrace the complexities and eccentricities of the original buildings, resulting in exposed historic features such as steel columns, cornices and brickwork, with the varying ceiling and floor levels celebrated rather than concealed. New servicing is either centralised into service spines finished in white perforated steel or left exposed with a galvanized steel finish.
Previous roofscape extensions that clashed with the historic roofline have been removed and replaced with more sensitive rooftop office accommodation. New terraces provide additional shared spaces with extensive views across London. Two original, previously inaccessible towers have been opened up to create idiosyncratic meeting spaces.
The project grew in scope substantially from the original commission for a quick fit-out to attract short-term Telecommunications, Media and Technology sector tenants. The fully comprehensive retrofit has completed after over two years in construction.
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