Oak and steel compliment heritage brick in carbon neutral mews house refurbishment for sustainable agriculture company’s London office

New office design clocks on to sustainability

Jez Abbott
19 Dec 2018

Edward Williams Architects has made an all-out sustainability swoop for an office design.

His designers replaced the three-storey building's gas supply with 100% renewable electricity bought from a sustainable source, but retained and restored as much as possible of the existing building fabric to achieve an economy of materials and a sense of historic place.

Part-restoration, part-rebuild, the project for a sustainable agriculture investor transformed the shell of a double-fronted mews building in Paddington into a contemporary workplace. The 210 square metre block will be a zero-carbon exemplar, emitting no greenhouse gas emissions once occupied.

Where new structural fabric was necessary, natural materials were used, including substantial new oak joists to meet contemporary fire-prevention standards. Architect Edward Williams said: “The challenge was to redevelop substantially the existing small mews building without losing any of the character - indeed adding character where possible.”

New structural elements were fabricated off-site and then elegantly “bolted” together on-site to maximise quality, and reduce the installation period, construction waste, and noise. Inside, the client wanted a modern aesthetic with in-built flexibility including an informal gathering area for the whole team, smaller spaces for private working, and larger areas for board meetings.

Double-glazed large doors allow natural light into the interior, and when fully opened create a seamless connection with the mews outside. Exposed soffit timbers in the 3.4m-high ceiling give a sculptural feel, as do the huge joists of oak and bespoke contemporary oak staircase.

Finishes included lighting by Tom Dixon along with fixtures from BEGA and Kreon. Herman Millar Aeron Chairs sit alongside Eames-style office chairs, and the dining area features a HAY Frame bench and table. Ground-level flooring is Corestone resin in vintage desert solid. The upper floors feature Junkers flooring in a matt lacquered finish. Vitsoe shelving is used throughout.

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