<span>Brickfields</span>

Brickfields

Brickfields

Brickfields is designed to foster the increasingly threatened culture of small businesses in the UK's capital.

The new small business centre houses 98 studios ranging in size from 12 m2 to 400 m2. Located next to Hoxton Overground station and in between Kingsland and Hackney roads, it was built on the site of a 1980s factory and increased the amount of workspace by nearly 50%. Conceived as both a single mass and a series of semi-discrete elements, the six-storey building provides 8,000m2 of office space in total, based around a central atrium and double storey entrance foyer and café.

Working alongside Witherford Watson Mann Architects, we provided advice on the Environmental, Acoustic and MEP Engineering strategy. A combination of carefully coordinated passive and active energy-efficient measures and engineering systems provide modern and minimalistic workspaces for small to medium size tenants.

The natural ventilation strategy for communal areas and studios was developed in close dialogue with Workspace. Pragmatic design criteria for internal noise levels and temperatures helped achieve an affordable natural ventilation strategy.  It was also agreed that tenants would control their own internal environments. 
 

"I'm really pleased to have contributed to a building that supports lots of small businesses in London. From an engineering perspective, the careful coordination with the structure has been a great success and contributed to achieving an integrated look whilst being a loose enough fit for future adaptation." - Peter Creaney, Senior Engineer at Max Fordham

The low ceilings and heavy concrete structure of the previous tenement factory made efficient retrofitting impossible, but the existing foundations on the west side were reused to help reduce the scheme’s embodied carbon. The building’s adaptability and flexibility of operation is also mirrored in its structure, with its largely dry construction allowing for a relatively straightforward disassembly and reuse in the future, if required.

"This building is an oblique love letter to our adoptive home; like the city itself, its scale can’t be grasped from any single viewpoint, but is instead experienced through multiple smaller-scale conditions. Physically, it is tough and unsentimental, a steel skeleton within a brick shell; yet by holding so many small businesses in intimate proximity, it is a platform for the vigorous exchange that drives the city along – generating not just economic energy but creative and social warmth." - William Mann, Director, Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Our daylight penetration modelling for the atrium helped inform the positioning of stairs and apertures on each level, as it was chosen to install several independent stairs rather than opting for the obvious move of creating one single stair. As a result, each floor is different and well suited to provide spaces for ad-hoc meetings, collaborative working or somewhere to eat lunch away from your desk. 

We are leading the Soft Landings process for this project and are providing three years of aftercare.

“Ultimately the success of this project lies in the way the building is able to sustain a kind of ecology – that is more than simply a collection of workspaces, that can accommodate growth and change, that facilitates exchange and collaboration, and creates a mutually-supporting community. The project [is conceived] not as a one single entity, but as a series of discrete moves that build up to something entire, with its own coherence and integrity. In this, it is a little like the way a city evolves over time – which is a good analogy for a project that aims to create the culture of a city in a single building.” – Architects’ Journal

Architect

Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Value

£15.6M

Completion

2019

Client

Workspace Group PLC

(c) Philipp Ebeling Info
Natural ventilation inlets to the cafe and reception area are automatically controlled to provide fresh air and cooling.
(c) Philipp Ebeling Info
Services distribution and lighting in the atrium is closely coordinated with the structure whilst being loose fit to allow the client make adaptations in the future.
(c) Philipp Ebeling Info
Lighting in office spaces responds to daylight levels to reduce electricity demand.
(c) Philipp Ebeling Info
Pictured are natural ventilation outlets which are hidden in the vertical section of the lantern, as well as the atrium's lights that respond to the varying levels of daylight on each level to provide a uniform feeling across all floors. Served by an air to water heat pump arrangement, heating to the atrium space is a combination of underfloor at ground level and cast radiators on the upper floors.

Image: (c) Philipp Ebeling

Architect

Witherford Watson Mann Architects

Value

£15.6M

Completion

2019

Client

Workspace Group PLC

Featured Project

The Record Hall