Archive for the ‘Current Projects’ Category
The Developing City exhibition in The Walbrook Building, on which we worked with Nick McKeogh of Pipers and Peter Murray of the NLA, opened during the London Festival of Architecture and remains open through the Olympics and Para Olympics.
It is a must-see exhibition looking at the City of London and how it has developed since Roman times to the present day and looking forward to the future. Featured are the buildings that make up the heart, soul and prosperity of the square mile.
We are currently working with Pipers and Wordsearch on the Developing City exhibition due to open in June at the Walbrook Building. It will form part of the London Festival of Architecture and run alongside the Olympics.
The exhibition will look at how the architecture has influenced the commerce of the City and will focus on the enduring resourcefulness that the City of London has relied upon as it developed from Roman times to now, and hopefully far into the future. The City has survived many challenges including the Great Fire and the Blitz and part of the exhibition will be about speculating how the City of the future will replenish and reinvent itself as a result of the current financial crisis.
It is not just the office blocks that have defined the City but also the spaces between them and the socializing that they support, where cafes and restaurants have often driven the deals within the City.
We are delighted that Emrys Architects won the London and South East region BCO Award yesterday in the best Refurbished/Recycled Workplace category for Conquest House. We celebrated at the awards ceremony with our client GMS Estates and Hult Business School who now occupy the building.
The permission is for three large two-bed and one one-bed unit. As you can see, the lateral conversions incorporate two very different typologies: showy Gothic Revival meets plain Victoriana.
This is a good example of Emrys pragmatism: turning very poor office space into fantastic flats for people who like to live in the heart of the legal and insurance quarter.
We’re over the moon that we’ve finally won planning permission for this beautiful new house in Highgate, London. After nearly 3 years of negotiation with local interest groups, the scheme sailed through planning committee last Thursday evening with unanimous support. One councillor even made a point to commend the scheme for its exciting and innovative design.
The project is for a 7000 sq ft new-build house on a private road adjacent to the historic bathing ponds of Hampstead Heath. Set within one of Camden’s Open Space areas the proposed design fits snugly into its wooded and ecologically diverse environments. The aim is to achieve a very sustainable building that combines super-insulated fabric with new green technologies to ensure building longevity and harmony with its environment.
The public art required by Westminster planning has been designed as an integral part of the building at Newman Street. We greatly enjoyed working with artist Royal Academician Tess Jaray who applied a unique striped terrazzo design to the front entrance steps making the required disabled access ramp a seamless part of the building. This theme continues inside the reception area of the building with a geometric design created from the same terrazzo.
The walls of the common area are lined with her distinctive prints. The series From the Rings of Saturn and Vertigo were first created in 2001. There are eighteen brightly coloured silk-screen prints, each image paired with a text taken from W G Sebald’s books of those titles.
Art consultants Modus Operandi advised Emrys Architects and Great Portland Estates on the public art commission
Sometimes it is tough being an architect: having to journey to Le Marche in Italy to look at a site – client briefings on the beach at the local fish restaurant over a glass or two of Pecorino wine, driving around winding roads up to sleepy drop dead gorgeous hill towns in hired Fiat Pandas wishing you were Stirling Moss in the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Hey – someone has to do it!
2012: London to Monterubbianno, 1093 miles by Ryan Air
1955: Mille Miglia, 1000 miles, Stirling Moss, 97.9mph, 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds by Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR .
I know which way I would rather have done the journey – stuff priority booking!
Emrys Architects has completed a mixed-use development in the West End of London for Great Portland Estates plc
The retrofit and conversion of a 1970s office building, which sits in a conservation area just north of Oxford Street, has provided sixteen private and seven affordable residential apartments with office accommodation on the ground and lower ground floors over 2,322 m2 (25,000 sq ft). Building contractor Knight Harwood completed on programme and affordable housing provider A2Dominion found occupiers in advance of completion. The majority of the private apartments were sold off-plan with Knight Frank now marketing the remaining penthouses.
The existing building was a concrete structure clad in stainless steel with no visual redeeming features. Emrys Architects’ scheme introduced a stone-clad elevation on Newman Street, re-modelling existing horizontal bands to form balconies allowing it to sit comfortably within the vertical Georgian street pattern. The rear elevation, which sits in a mews-scale streetscape populated by workshop-type buildings, is rendered and timber clad with aluminium windows reinforcing the semi-industrial street scene.
The flats are generously sized especially for their location, the penthouses being planned on two floors feel very spacious at 240 m2 and 120 m2 each with large private terraces enjoying stunning views across London. The clean design augments this feeling of spaciousness. The penthouses have ‘seemless’ white bathrooms with limestone floors flowing into Corian units and luxurious stand alone baths.
Glyn Emrys, Director of Emrys Architects says “We are delighted with the result. The scheme has breathed new life into an outmoded building – meeting sustainability objectives including EcoHomes and Breeam ‘Very Good’ standards – and reenergised the local area, bringing much needed diversity into this neighbourhood.’
Sustainability measures include super-insulation of external walls, solar panels providing hot water and grey-water recycling. Green roofs and biodiversity measures are also included. Emrys says ‘The existing building had no energy saving measures so by careful re-use of the concrete frame and introduction of relatively inexpensive green features we’ve created very efficient 21st century homes’.
Hult Business School has taken the whole of the 22,500 sq ft Conquest House. The internationally recognised business school, with campuses in Boston, Dubai, San Francisco and Shanghi, now has a place in ‘ The world’s most influential city’.
We have been appointed by Zebra Housing to master plan two sites they recently purchased in Tufnell Park, North London.
The scheme is for postgraduate student residences as part of a new build and renovation strategy to be phased over two years.
The scheme is currently in pre-application negotiations, with the first phase of the development due to commence September 2012.
Our project on Bishopsgate is progressing well, although I think Father Christmas might struggle to visit this year!
Having removed our previous DIY glass conservatory, extending the lower ground floor and rebuilding the upper ground floor, the one area that we could not bring ourselves to value engineer was the window overlooking the garden.
The value engineered option was to have a glazed silicone butt joint at 800mm above finished floor level. This would have allowed all of the glass to be manhandled through the small Georgian terraced house. But no, we decided that any joint would spoil the view of the garden.
The result was the need for a large crane that AM Glazing used to lift the 2.7 x 2.7 m piece of glass over the house and lower it into place.
The next stage is to lay the green roof and parapet cappings – at least they can be humped through the house. Then I can relax and see the view intact.
Farningham House Cottage is an 18th Century Grade II listed property in the picturesque Kent village of Farningham. Emrys were instructed by a private client to design a glazed link extension to connect the main house with two outbuildings – an existing workshop building and former stables, both to be internally refurbished. The contemporary glazed link has been designed to be highly sensitive to the existing historic fabric and the special nature of the courtyard garden in which it is situated, whilst responding to the very specific spatial requirements of the client. The new link will effectively provide a fully glazed passageway between the cottage and the stables, with two new bedrooms in the former workshop building accessed from the glazed link. The beautiful verdant courtyard and the fig tree to the stables wall provide a backdrop to the glazed link.
Lakeside School is a 1960s special needs school on the edge of Welwyn Garden City, between the Conservation Area of Welwyn Garden City and the Green Belt. Emrys were asked to submit a proposal to expand the school within the constraints of a restricted site, with complex and specific spatial requirements and a tight budget.
Our proposal is a combination of alterations and extensions and new build elements, in order to improve the teaching, administration and recreational spaces whilst revamping the image of the school.
It consists of a new build sports hall and teaching/ administration block; a new multiuse/ cafe space to infill the north-west corner of the school; an over clad of the existing front elevation to give the school a new face and provide continuity across the site; as well as landscaping and improvements to parking and external works to the front and rear of the site.
The proposal was well received, by both the school and planners but due to a lack of funding was unable to go ahead. The school is currently investigating the possibility of applying for Academy status with the Department for Education.
We’re excited to be working with environmental designers Brooks Devlin on a new build two-bedroom home on the site of a Tudor Brewery in South Wales. The project will employ Passivhaus principles to ensure it is a state-of-the-art, zero carbon exemplar building.
Find Brooks Devlin at: http://brooksdevlin.com/
Emrys Architects has completed the refurbishment and remodeling of Conquest House, a landmark headquarters building in the heart of the Bloomsbury Conservation Area.
The 1950s office block occupies a prime location – on the corner of John Street and Theobalds Road overlooking Gray’s Inn Gardens – but was outdated, tired and ill-equipped to meet contemporary aspirations and needs. GMS Estates commissioned Emrys Architects to transform the building into a high-quality contemporary headquarters that would stand out from the crowd in a challenging rental market and appeal to high-end tenants.
‘The secret to any successful headquarters building is understanding how modern organisations want to work, but also how they want to be perceived both by their own staff and by external colleagues and clients’. Says Glyn Emrys of Emrys Architects. ‘Sustainability has always been fundamental to Emrys’ work so it’s particularly gratifying that environmental performance is fast becoming a key priority across the commercial rental sector’.
The updated building, which provides approximately 22,500 sq ft of net floor space over six floors of remodeled and refurbished office space, has achieved a BREEAM Very Good Rating. Energy-efficient passive chilled beams provide silent cooling to all floors; solar arrays meet the majority of the building’s domestic hot water requirements and rainwater storage and low-flush WCs keep water consumption to a minimum.
The external envelope has been upgraded to achieve modern standards of thermal efficiency. On the rear elevation both new and existing window openings have been fitted with double-glazed PPC aluminium-framed units whilst double-glazed secondary windows have been fitted to existing windows on the existing facades on John Street and Theobalds Road.
Flexible working and staff wellbeing are also key priorities. ‘Having the right sort of workplace is a key tool in the quest to attract and retain the best available talent’ says Emrys. ‘Modern companies still want the wow factor, but they also want spaces that allow staff to work informally; to spend time outdoors; to socialize and to enjoy moments of tranquility and peace.
The entrance has been modernized to create a high-impact highly-visible reception area which leads through to a glazed atrium space that provides valuable breakout space whilst flooding the building with natural light. A dramatic link bridge suspended within the atrium space leads to a landscaped courtyard garden where staff and visitors can work or relax. The first floor opens onto a new timber-decked roof terrace that overlooks the newly landscaped garden, whilst further balconies have been created at second, third and fourth floors.
‘We’ve always enjoyed retro-fitting existing buildings’ says Emrys. ‘It chimes perfectly with our commitment to sustainable design. And it’s particularly satisfying when you’re able to give an entirely new character in the process. The problem with Conquest House was not simply that it was out-of-date, but that it was faceless and cold. We wanted to make a statement, but we wanted to humanise the building too’.
Early indications suggest that the strategy has been a success. Conquest House has already attracted a good deal of interest from the market and looks set to be let out in its entirety any time now.
Conquest House, a 22,500 sq ft office building in Bloomsbury, is nearing completion – here is a taster before we are able to do a full photographic shoot. There is considerable rental interest in the building so there may be only be a short period between completion and letting.
We made the case to the City of London that two buildings on the corner of Bishopsgate and New Street would work much better as eight flats for the rental market, rather than their current underutilization as office space.
The flats are located on a very heavily trafficked bus route. In order to avoid the associated noise and air pollution, each unit has been designed to a very high level of acoustic attenuation and whole house ventilation in order to maintain good comfort levels to the flats.
The development is due to come on stream in the spring of 2012 for the early bird Olympic market.
We’re very pleased to say that we’ve managed to negotiate planning permission and change of use for a mixed-use development on Newman Street in the West End of London. The permission, gained for our client Great Portland Estates, is for change of use from office use to sixteen private and seven affordable residential apartments whilst upgrading office accommodation on ground and lower ground floors.
The existing building is a 1970s concrete structure clad in stainless steel with no visual redeeming features, and sits in a conversation area just North of Oxford Street which has a mix of urban building types. Our scheme respects the urban condition by introducing a stone clad elevation that sits comfortably within a vertical Georgian street pattern. The rear condition is mews in scale and populated by workshop-type buildings, the elevation facing this side will be rendered and timber clad with aluminium windows reinforcing the semi-industrial street scene.
The scheme is interesting for us as it draws on our skills to ‘retrofit’ existing buildings making them relevant to current requirements, and we have achieved this with ECOhomes and BREEAM Very Good ratings.
Richard Amlot, Development Manager at Great Portland Estates says ‘Emrys have produced an extremely creative and efficient solution with minimum intervention. They have managed to retain more of the existing building fabric than we expected, thus saving much of the embodied energy in the building, whilst achieving great flat layouts and adopting a strong contemporary design.’
The contract has been negotiated with Knight Harwood and started on site at the end of October 2010.
This is our entry into the Room for London competition. The brief was to provide a temporary serviced hotel room for one year – 2012 – on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank. The proposal had to be no more than 40m2 and capable of being positioned on the roof without permanent fixings to the structure below. Our proposal was to turn each guest’s visit into a 24 hour play.
A play is an event, a treat, a night in London. We proposed to place an inhabited stage on the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Our stage is the setting of the play, a place where guests can act out their own twenty-four hour dramas before the greatest backdrop in the world. The stage is the focus from outside, but for the guest inside London becomes the focus. No play is the same; every day is a different drama.
The stage is a continuous surface draped over the roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It slips over the edge of the roof and down the side of the building. The fly-tower sits over the stage; it is finished in gold and glitters in the sun. It forms the roof and enclosure to ‘The Room’. The Queen Elizabeth Hall Auditorium has never had a fly-tower until now.
Inside the room a continuous perimeter curtain is made up of several independent sections and can be positioned to frame vistas of the city beyond. The guest is in control of the play, changing the scene by operating the curtain; London is revealed. The curtain is made of rich red fabric and creates a sumptuous, cosy interior.
Inside the room (on the stage, under the fly-tower) there is a bed, a sofa, a bath, a toilet, a basin, a wardrobe and writing desk. There are no fixed divisions in the room; instead enclosures are lowered over the functions below. The shower curtain is lowered on a chain and pulley over the bath, the wardrobe is a rack that can be raised up to clear space below.
The brief was to provide 40 two and three bedroom flats plus 4,000m2 of office space on a key site between the harbour and existing Georgian town in Whitehaven. Each flat had to have a sea view and an external terrace.
Our proposal was to create three ceramic-clad mini-towers that rose like sails from the waterfront echoing the pleasure boats in the adjacent harbour. The towers rise to the corner of a major urban junction and the harbour front, accentuating the importance of the corner. The sails rise from a plinth of brick that anchors the sail towers to the Georgian street pattern of the old town.
The brief was to achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 4 and this was to done using high efficiency ground source heat pumps and solar hot water from roof-mounted panels to serve the heating and hot water systems. We proposed a green roof (sedum or similar) on the main roofs and planted topiary gardens at plinth roof level to increase biodiversity and contribute to peak storm water flow. All flats were designed to Lifetime Homes Standards and operate as live/work units.
We have won planning permission for a 35,000 sq ft mixed-use development for a prominent corner site within the Camberwell Green Conservation Area in South London. The project, a flagship for the wider regeneration of the area, includes 27 residential units, retail facilities, a members-only snooker club and a restaurant/wine bar.
Located on a major thoroughfare, the design brings much-needed life to a previously ‘blank’ stretch of streetscape and addresses the fundamental challenge of balancing the need for residential accommodation in busy metropolitan environments with the desire for security, privacy and secluded outdoor space.
I bought my first flat in London with a college friend who got a job with James Stirling. Sometimes after work I would go round to Stirling Wilford’s office at 8 Fitzroy Square, and as he worked in the attic, I would clamber up the stairs and read all of the articles framed on the walls.
In the attic there was a horse’s saddle which was the throne for all consultants to sit on and be grilled!
Wind on more years than I care to think about, and it transpired that one of our clients owned the building which sadly no more housed the architectural legend. Instead, a media company nearing the end of its lease occupied the building. We were given the task to gain change of use back to its origins as a family house. Unfortunately it was not for me, but for some lucky new owner.
I think it deserves a blue plaque in honour of the man! GE
On holiday in Italy during the summer, the most difficult decision of the day is what flavours of ice cream to have. When the weather is a bit cooler I generally prefer coffee, pistachio, and cream. On particularly hot days I tend to go for strawberry, melon and coconut.
Given my weakness for ice cream, it is fun to work with Gelato Mio, a UK company that makes great homemade ice cream. We have been working with Carlo del Mistro, who founded the company, on his factory outlet in Fulham and ice cream parlours around London.
The ice cream he makes is great and definitely worth a diversion. GE
The hoarding at Conquest House was already striking – leaves drift down the building reflecting the trees in Gray’s Inn Field opposite.
Now it has more local context with safety posters designed by children from St George the Martyr, a nearby primary school. A competition was held at the school and two winners were selected to have their pictures displayed on the hoarding which runs along Theobald’s Road and John Street, WC1.
‘Beware of building sites’ and ’Save the World!’. They seem to have it covered!
It’s still disappointing though when that happens – our recent competition entry for a new gate to the City of London at Aldgate has not been shortlisted. However, it was still worth doing as the point of an ideas competition is to generate ideas!
The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring millions of people from all over the world through our city and this landmark would welcome them on their journey.
Our idea was a Gate of Souls, representing the individual souls that work, live and pass through the City of London and we took ‘Save our Souls’ to be a guardianship of that which makes us individuals. Coloured glass spheres and cylinders spell out ‘SOS’ in Morse Code … — … over and over as a symbol and celebration of the diversity of the spirits, souls and knowledge of all who pass: from stockbroker to Olympian, from street cleaner to Mayor.
I went to the garden centre this weekend to buy some scent to attract butterflies to my ecologically diverse garden and whilst I was there I saw that they also had bat boxes. I was quite tempted to buy one because Emrys Architects now have three new-build houses where bats are the prime mover and shakers in the planning process. Because of their settings, the bats all enjoy well-established ecological habitats and, quite rightly, the planners and the local residents do not want to see a new house disturb that tranquility. In the end, I declined the bat box on the basis that I can’t even get butterflies to inhabit my ecologically sensitive garden.
Watch this space to see how the new schemes (and the bats) progress.
Our part of the site is also the last bit to have been developed: the now exposed concrete frame is a monument to the time when there were many breweries in Central London that extracted sufficient water from the artesian layers to have stopped the water table rising.
The concrete frame was a Hummer of its day, capable of supporting 10KN/msq – which is a lot!
Its robustness, and very high floor-to-ceiling heights, offer many possibilities for post credit crunch markets – watch this space!
We have completed this marketing suite for Conquest House, a 22,500 sq ft landmark office building in the heart of Bloomsbury. Part of a program of refurbishment and extension, the suite is reprehensive of a completed bay and incorporates an innovative sustainable heating and cooling system. A plenum supplies fresh tempered air along with power and data. This negates the need for fixed servicing outlets, facilitating a flexible layout. An integrated passive chilled beam and lighting system has been carefully coordinated with the existing structure, maximising floor to ceiling heights. The chilled beams run at higher temperatures than the fan coils reducing energy consumption whilst providing near silent operation.
Tenders are due back in the next couple of days and we are excited about taking this project on site in the near future.