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HALCROW GROUP HEADQUARTERS, LONDON
Wednesday 30 Nov 2011
Unlocking the 21st century potential of a 20th century building.
Completed on March 31, 2010, the headquarters of Halcrow, an infrastructure design, planning and management consultancy, fulfills the need for a flagship building that supports flexible, project-based working methods. By bringing all its London staff into one flexible work environment, Halcrow hoped to foster collaborative relationships across diverse skill groups and project teams, and right up to board level.
In this respect, the availability of EMI House in Hammersmith represented both an opportunity and a challenge. The structure was built in the late 1930s with progressive features like open-plan work areas, expansive glazing and generous slab-to-slab heights. From the 1950s onward, however, subsequent owners had cellularised its spaces.
M Moser began remoulding the building by stripping the interior to something close to its original state. Floors one to five then presented an opportunity to create flowing, flexible open workspaces. A major addition was a floating ceiling installed to accommodate new building services. Setting it back approximately 180cm from the outer walls preserved the full height of the perimeter windows, maximised natural light and views of the north London skyline, and emphasised the circulation around the work areas. The open-plan working floors allow for people to work together – either within their skill group or as part of a multifaceted project team – by simply moving within the floor or the building. Each features prominent ‘resource nodes’ containing copy points and meeting areas.
On the ground floor is a series of spaces that embrace visitors and staff within a brand-enhancing environment. A client meeting suite is located adjacent to reception as a setting for client-focused meetings and interactions. Just beyond, more meeting spaces, a flexible training suite and a library are arrayed along a ‘boulevard’ that leads ultimately to a canteen/informal meeting area. A mezzanine links the latter to a first-floor outside terrace.