18-20 Appold Street was originally constructed in the 1860’s as a grand furniture workshop, warehouse and showroom, part of the famous Shoreditch furniture trade. The building is locally listed and retains many of its period features such as cast iron lifting jibs and curved windows surrounds. It covers an approximate internal area of 12,000sqft and was last refurbished in the late 1980’s when it was split into a bar/restaurant on the ground floor and office floors above.
British Land who own the premises have recently decided to give it a new lease of life by converting the office areas into a ‘white collar factory’ environment. Here, business start-ups can rent from a single desk to a whole floor on short term leases, with all facilities such as furniture and connectivity included in the overall rent.
The building had been poorly maintained for some years and there was no record information, BSD was engaged by British Land to carry out a detailed survey of the buildings existing M&E services prior to undertaking the detailed design.
A desire to turn the roof-top plant room into a timber meeting room ‘cabin’ reduced the space available for the necessary plant as planning only allowed for a same-size structure.
This extensive survey established what services could potentially be kept for reuse in the revised scheme such as the electrical distribution and gas supplies.
The addition of a roof terrace included a new-build structure, split in two to host the secluded meeting room and a smaller plant room. Our clever design for the plant room made use of new and efficient equipment. We replaced the two previous boilers with one efficient model and water tanks raised over pumps instead of the more usual side-by-side arrangement.
The building’s internal layout has been totally designed with a view to promote collaborative and relaxed working set-ups, including one floor being set up as a ‘hub’ where occupants can work, meet or relax in a coffee shop type environment.
What makes the new British Land concept different from other more traditional serviced offices is that the building is going to be designed and fitted out to retain and promote the building’s ‘urban’ characteristics, with extensive exposed timber floors and structural elements, and exposed M&E services throughout.
As a result of our work on the Appold Street project, we have since been appointed by British Land to undertake similar services on other buildings on their estate, to roll out the ‘white collar factory’ concept throughout other parts of London.