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Revamp of printing works building sees former bin store transformed into light-filled atrium

by James 16 November 2011
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    Originally a printing works built in 1935, the building was constructed in two parts connected by a series of bridges along the south façade. The courtyard behind housed an electricity substation and a small carpark. The client brief was to provide high quality office space and add area where possible and this was
    achieved through enclosure of the existing courtyard with a lightweight ETFE roof and bridge across the north façade with a fully glazed link.

    This link connects both halves of each floorplate in a torus of well connected office space, and creates a large, bright meeting room or break out area fronting the courtyard. The courtyard itself, which was once an underutilised bin store, becomes a dramatic 18-metre-high reception area, filled with natural light overlooked by a series of balconies off each floor of office space.

    It is this atrium, which provides a visual break from the office floors and delights occupants with its unique gently pulsing lighting installation, that significantly improves the user experience of the building. The ‘bulbs' in the atrium are hand blown from standard laboratory flasks into the classic lightbulb shape and are illuminated by fibre optic cables and a remote light source, negating the need to replace the bulbs and minimising health and safety risk.

    A full height glazed screen has replaced an aging mansard roof on the fourth floor to create a dramatic sixty-metre-long roof terrace with views of St Pauls, 30 St Mary Axe and the Barbican; a real ‘London' skyline and a great external space which was previously an inaccessible asphalt roof - again improving
    the working environment for the building occupants.

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