British Land’s Ropemaker Place is a success story on many levels. Entering the market in a time of economic uncertainty, the 81,218 sq m commercial block let almost immediately with tenants fighting for space on the leafy garden terraces. Meanwhile, Australian financial services organisation Macquarie had acquired six floors of the Ropemaker Place building and brought in Clive Wilkinson Architects - with whom they had previously worked on the One Shelley Street scheme - to punch a hole through Arup Associates’ original floorplates and insert a vibrant new atrium.
Having gained unprecedented access to the building, WAN interviewed Michael Beaven, Director of Engineering and Sustainability at Arup Associates; Sarah Cary, Sustainable Developments Executive at British Land; Clive Wilkinson, President and Design Director at Clive Wilkinson Architects; and Kylie Nelson, Regional Head of Corporate Services at Macquarie Group. Click here or scroll down to view the video interviews.
The main building was completed back in 2009, only three years after British Land acquired the plot on the borders of The City and the London Borough of Islington, and is one of the most sustainable buildings in the capital. Each façade of Ropemaker Place is different from the last and a series of luscious roof terraces by Robert Townshend Landscape Architects crown the upper floors.
Completed both on time and on budget, Ropemaker Place was designed to be highly flexible to the needs of potential tenants, as exemplified by Macquarie and Clive Wilkinson Architects. Arup Associates completed the shell and core building to be as adaptable as possible to the desires of the new tenants as Michael Beaven explains in the video below (see 8.02).
Macquarie invited Clive Wilkinson Architects to help them realise a vision of maximum transparency and connectivity, removing a large section of floor space within Ropemaker Place in order to insert a colourful atrium through their entire 6-level occupancy. This space is enlivened with a scarlet staircase and a variety of breakout areas which encourage interaction between employees and promotes a healthier approach to the work environment. Kylie Nelson, Head of Corporate Services at Macquarie Group, divulged that the organisation has witnessed a high proportion of their employees taking the stairs rather than elevators as a matter of course and a new buzz in the office as a result of the dynamic interior design.
Sustainability has played a key role in the success story of Ropemaker Place. A combination of renewable energy systems and passive design elements has resulted in the building being awarded a BREAAM Excellent rating and LEED Platinum core and shell pre-certification, and WAN was able to gain access to the green heart and lungs of the complex during our film tour (see 4.16 in the video below). The following film takes you behind the facades of one of London's most intriguing sustainable buildings.