The building was constructed towards the end of the 1930’s when there was a timber shortage due to the war, hence the construction is brick, concrete and steel. Throughout the renovation process we aimed to be sympathetic to the original design and have developed the strong industrial feel.
The interior hadn’t been touched for a good thirty years. We uncovered three levels of suspended ceilings and all of the walls had three layers of cladding taking us back to the 1960’s. This created about three tonnes of rubbish that had to be removed. It also revealed the awful state of the electrics, ironic given that it used to be an electrical wholesaler, which meant that we had no choice but to strip-out all of the existing electrics and start from scratch. This was also true of the heating system and we also ended up replacing all of the internal stud walls.
The windows were also in pretty bad state, and there’s a lot of them. We wanted to be quite bold with the external colours, a very dark grey and the existing white windows were not going to look good, so again, we thought it was time to replace them so that we could colour-match them to the external paintwork.
One of the main consideration form a design perspective was that although there are a lot of windows nearly all of them are on the first floor, creating a lovely light and airy working environment. However, downstairs was the opposite so we decided to play on this and create a cosy environment that is more conducive to relaxing, eating and socialising. We’ve built a kitchen/dining area to encourage residents to spend time together helping to encourage collaboration and to develop a strong sense of support and community.