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Campus-Like Office Approved for Elephant & Castle

2nd December

The collaboration between client London & Regional, structural engineers Heyne Tillet Steel, MEP Engineers Atelier 10, planning consultants SM Planning and architects Piercy&Company will transform the existing Skipton House building in Elephant and Castle.

An emphasis on sustainability and adaptive re-use led to the strategy of retaining six of the current seven storey steelwork structure and using this to support a six floor steel and cross laminated timber extension. The architecture reflects this structural stratification, with a raw and industrial aesthetic contrasted with warmer toned elements and tactile surfaces.

The 280,000 sqft uplift in area will allow the building to contribute 490,000 sqft of workspace to Elephant and Castle. The large work floors have been flexibly designed to accommodate both large and small businesses, and a triple height garden on the 7th floor provides a generous and distinctive amenity space to the building, with dramatic views over London.

The scheme will both enhance public space to the south of the building and create a new flexible exhibition, retail and foyer space within the building on the ground floor of a central atrium. Whilst the building is a commercially-led scheme, the ground level is conceived as a public platform for cultural events, exhibitions and performances. Inspired by the theories of Cedric Price, the space has been designed to be robust and completely flexible, with elements such as a gantry crane and a cascading stair to combine a theatricality with a calm pragmatism.

The project embraces the principles of a circular economy reusing and refurbishing rather than demolishing and building anew. The use of responsibly sourced CLT structure for the extension further supports this goal, while adding warmth and character to the building. The ambitious embodied carbon reduction agenda is supplemented by a new high-performance building envelope that will minimise operational energy use. Features such as the vertical fins on the extension will provide solar control and add texture to the building façade, while allowing expansive views and ample daylight into the office space.

“We designed the workspaces to be adaptable in terms of internal vertical connectivity and subdivision. We also worked to soften the distinction between tenant and landlord space so that tenants feel connected to the experience of the building as a whole. Workspaces are collected around the theatre like central atria,
cascading stair, gardens and events spaces creating a campus atmosphere. There is a purposeful modesty to the architecture in terms of structure, palette and detailing, reflecting on the direction of workspaces in the face of dramatic changes in both behaviour and economics.” Stuart Piercy, Founding Director.

See: Skipton House