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160 Old Street

By Orms

Client Great Portland Estates

Awards RIBA London Award 2021

© Timothy Soar

The former Royal Mail building at 160 Old Street has been transformed into a contemporary office building. It is a confident and appropriately understated addition to this architecturally eclectic part of the city.

The client and design team elected to retain the existing 1970s concrete frame, stripping away both the façade and a host of internal finishes to undertake an extensive retrofit, with consequent savings in embodied carbon.

An elegant new single-storey pavilion cleverly helps to unlock the plan by connecting the two original but autonomous cores and providing a much-needed human-scale frontage to the street.

At the upper levels, the partial floorplate extensions along the spine of the building create good-quality office spaces with excellent daylight penetration, improving the form factor and helping create a rich variety of spaces suitable for the modern workplace. The way that the existing cores have been rationalized allows the floorplates to be subdivided into smaller demises, increasing the building’s appeal to a greater range of tenants.

Externally, the green-glazed bricks of the pavilion provide a delightful splash of colour that the architects have continued on into the reception area to create a welcoming environment.

Internally, the existing concrete frame has been left largely exposed, complemented by a restrained palette of polished concrete, oak, black steel and white glass panels.

The decisions to retain the structure, minimize applied internal finishes, and model the operational energy accurately are applauded. Coupled with the careful detailing of the façade and the active, public-facing pavilion, the final result is surely an exemplar of refurbishment for the long-term that others should follow.

Internal area 20,499.00 m²

Contractor Wates Construction

Structural Engineers Heyne Tillett Steel

Environmental / M&E Engineers Hilson Moran

Planning Consultant DP9

Project Management: Jackson Coles

Quantity Surveyor / Cost Consultant Exigere

© Timothy Soar
© Timothy Soar
© Timothy Soar
© Timothy Soar
© Orms
© Orms
© Orms
© Orms
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