Transformation of a 1980s built office block into low carbon workspace for 21st century needs
Working for the Low Carbon Workplace Partnership, we’ve combined our commercial and low carbon expertise to renovate and extend three 19th century warehouse buildings into offices, showrooms and with eight high-end apartments.
They are now the new HQ for clothing brand Fred Perry, giving the sportswear company a cutting-edge, energy efficient office to market the brand around the world.
The 9906m2 of office space has an ‘industrial architectural finish’ with exposed brickwork and beams paying homage the history of the building. The showrooms and gallery form an important part of the function of the building, with the Victorian warehouse buildings are “perfectly in tune” with the Fred Perry brand.
A technically complex project, our team used their expertise to transform what are effectively four separate but interconnected buildings and add new storeys. The new headquarters feature wall graphics which play with the viewers’ sense of scale with an oversized version of the laurel-wreath logo created from rope in reference to its appearance on shirts.
The gallery space is curated to reference the heritage of the brand and an original Fred Perry loom sits permanently in the centre of the room. We also introduced new service cores and new mezzanine floors, complemented by a two storey atrium through part of the commercial building to let in natural light.
The customer novated the architect BuckleyGrayYeoman
to us, helping them with the design process, through to construction.
We used all our ingenuity, and that of our supply chain, to deliver the concept architecture’s design. Our supply chain had to do more design than would normally be expected.
For example, one stair consisted of six tons of plate steel in three pieces as the crane was unable to lift it as one. Normal practice would be to bolt the pieces together, but this would not have satisfied the architect’s vision, so we had to weld the pieces together, using the fifth floor as a welding workshop.
This was a tight site with exposed finishes, not the type of work our supply chain partners would normally do. For example the scissor stair (only connected to building at top and bottom, not at landings) – the supply chain partner was unable to draw this to we needed to get a specialist engineer in.
Architect’s BuckleyGrayYeoman director Paul White says it will go ‘way beyond the idea of a traditional workplace’ and that ‘our job became to celebrate the existing [Victorian warehouse] embellishing it with the Fred Perry personality.
This is our fifth project for Low Carbon Workplace (LCW), a consortium that includes Stanhope, Threadneedle and The Carbon Trust. They buy old property to modernise and increase its Energy Performance Certificate to at least a B rating. This future-proofs the property against rising energy bills and new environmental regulations such as the minimum energy performance standard - set to restrict the letting of buildings rated F or G from 2018.
Two of our crack team of central London office refurbishment specialists
The energy credentials of this building is exemplary; the residential properties are heavily insulated for thermal and noise efficiency and both residential and commercial buildings have achieved a rating of BREEAM Excellent.
As with all Willmott Dixon projects, wherever possible we look to offer opportunities and added value to the communities we work in and as a result of this project four apprentices were employed with the support of our supply chain partners.
Chris Tredget, managing director of Willmott Dixon in London:
“We are always delighted to work with the Low Carbon Workplace Partnership, creating spaces that are not only environmentally friendly and energy efficient but that also provide a fantastic environment for people to work in. This was a challenging project logistically but has resulted in a workplace and apartments that have achieved BREEAM Excellent and set the standard for modern building regeneration.”
Willmott Dixon House, 80 Wilbury Way, Hitchin, Hertfordshire