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Harella House

Chait Investment Corporation Ltd

Considered refurbishment reveals the building's history whilst reducing carbon emissions by 47%.

Harella House
Chait Investment Corporation Ltd

Piercy&Company refurbished and extended this 1930’s warehouse and former clothing factory in London’s Clerkenwell. Now the building provides 3,107 m2 of light filled, flexible work space over six floors, is rated BREEAM Excellent and achieves a 47% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the existing building.

Situated on Goswell Road in Clerkenwell, the former factory has a fascinating history as home (from the 1930's to 1970's) to one of the UK’s largest and most successful women’s clothing exporters – Harella International Fashions. The building’s high ceilings and large crittal windows were designed to create suitable working conditions for the textile firm’s workforce of machinists, seamstresses and pressers.

However, by the time Piercy&Company came to the project in 2016, the building’s character was hidden under decades of unsympathetic internal alterations. Riveted steel columns, perimeter brickwork piers and concrete encased beams have now been revealed and celebrated, creating an authentic and characterful palette of materials on each office floor.

Echoes of the Harella company’s distinctive hand painted advertising posters and fabrics can now be seen in the interior colour palette of grey green and warm oak with accents of black. Subtle motifs of woven thread appear externally on the terraces, where the railings’ patterning resembles thread work, and internally on the balustrades with the same pattern executed in woven tensile leather by Bill Amberg Studio. In a building which originally housed craftspeople from the textile industry, it seemed appropriate to engage a new generation of artisans and create with them modern materials and details, inspired by Harella’s rich heritage.

The refurbishment of Harella House has resulted in an environmental upgrade that has reduced the energy consumption and carbon emissions of the building. The thermal performance of the windows and roof was upgraded and all of the MEP systems were improved. This included the installation of an efficient underfloor ventilation system, with fan assisted floor tiles. Heating and cooling is provided through an efficient heat pump system, with domestic hot water provided with a gas boiler. The existing lights were replaced with efficient lighting with daylight dimming and occupancy detection to reduce lighting consumption. The energy modelling that was undertaken as part of BREEAM (‘Excellent’ rating achieved) showed a 47% reduction in carbon emissions compared to the existing building.


Chait Investment Corporation Ltd
Clerkenwell, London
Gross Floor Area:
42,000 sqft
Completed June 2020

Project Team

  • BW, Main Contractor
  • Armitage Real Estate, Agent
  • Davies Maguire, Structural Engineer
  • Elementa Consulting, Services Engineer
  • CBRE, Project Manager
  • Exigere, Quantity Surveyor
  • Shore, CDM/Building Regulations
  • Cemento, Precast Concrete
  • Martek, Timber
  • Mass Concrete, Bespoke Terrazzo and Concrete
  • Cantifix, Glazing
  • Steel Options, Architectural Metalwork
  • Bill Amberg Studio, Leatherwork


  • Jack Hobhouse, Photography