Sustainability, biophilia and collaboration are the key drivers for a 15,000 sq ft listed building refurbishment

“Jane’s creative and practical approach shone through”
Peter Anderson, Managing Partner, TB+A

We are always excited to see the finished results of our work, where our carefully considered designs lift off the page and come to life.

The completion of the TB+A headquarters in Euston is particularly rewarding as we have been part of the transformation process every step of the way. When we first received the brief in 2019, the engineering consultancy wanted a complete refurbishment of their flagship offices, comprising of a 15,000 square feet foot double height area in a Grade II listed former Royal Mail sorting office.

The long, linear space included some historic architectural features but was very tired and in need of a full refresh, inclusive of new lighting, meeting rooms, tea points, WCs, a more impactful reception, finishes and furniture. The works would need to be carried out in phases in an occupied space.

The brief generated by consultation with TB+A staff was fairly straightforward: to increase collaborative working spaces, upgrade client facing areas and achieve the highest possible BREEAM* rating with the aim of promoting positive health and wellbeing across the workplace including the integration of greenery. At JOC we are great believers in the benefits of biophilia so the opportunity to introduce planting into the design for this working environment was something we embraced.

We created a design that we and the clients were very happy with, harmonising contemporary design with historic features and using colour to tie everything together. TB+A appointed JOA to design the office refurbishment, acting not only as the architect, but also project manager, contract administrator, client advisor, interior designer and furniture procurement. This resulted in an agile and close client relationship ensuring a cohesively designed refurbishment project reflecting the needs of the client.

We really proved our agility when Covid struck in 2020 shortly into the delivery of the project.  We were light on our feet and quick to respond to the changing needs in the workplace.  We delivered the core elements of the initial design, including the lighting, branding and colour scheme whilst maintaining our vision and created a new floor layout to enable socially distanced working while also increasing natural ventilation, in line with Government regulations.

We incorporated TB+A’s wishes following employee consultation through Covid, we reassessed and adapted our initial designs to the new working environment and practices including more collaboration space and more opportunities for on-line contact both in meeting spaces and in on the working floor.  Covid provided challenges in terms of supply chains and material costs.  There was a shortage of sanitaryware, for example, which we resolved by staggering the project programme and coming up with temporary solutions in the interim.  We sourced UK manufactured shelving and meeting tables and styled the meeting spaces with items which reflect the engineering, railway and post office themes relevant to the office building and created bespoke branded planters.  We even organised the office Christmas decorations!

The revised design includes intimate but airy meeting spaces surrounded by open shelving within the double height office floor.  The original plans had planted areas in the central area and the main reception.  There is now a mass of planting creating a green spine through the linear space, there are even moss filled planters suspended from the ceiling, providing an attractive green backdrop to the new lighting design while improving the air quality as well as supporting noise reduction. The moss generates a lovely aroma as you enter the space.  One member of staff in each area has now taken responsibility for taking care of the plants, which is proving to be an enjoyable aspect of office life.

Period features including enormous sash windows, cast iron balustrades and spiral staircases are crisply combined within the contemporary design using a pared down colour palette.  A gantry running the length of the space and a balcony at the entrance to the offices offer birds eye views across the office floor. Sustainability of approach through the careful selection of materials, low VOC, automated water usage, electronic heating controls, LED lighting combined with daylight dimming and absence detection and monitoring of air quality lead to a design that is targeting BREEAM Outstanding rating.

JOA director Jane O’Connor says “It’s been a pleasure to see this project through to completion and we are delighted with the results.  It’s also been an excellent example of great collaborative working with our clients.  The immense changes in the working environment over the last couple of years have shifted priorities and we were quick to adapt.

“It’s testimony to the great working partnership I have with Peter Anderson, Managing Partner of TB+A. This is the third major project we have worked on together.  When I waved goodbye to Peter across the rooftops at a barbecue above Westminster tube in 1991 I never predicted how our careers would interconnect over the following years.   The rooftop barbecue had been in celebration of the successful completion of a complex project at the Houses of Parliament.

“We then worked together again in the ‘noughties’, collaborating as lead architect and lead engineer on the high profile Deloitte campus: a 400,000 square foot office fit out and refurb in the heart of London.”

Peter went on to become MP of the engineering consultancy TB+A.  Serendipity brought them together again. The day Jane launched the new JOA website in 2019 she sent Peter an email. As luck would have it, he was about to embark upon a refurb of his company’s headquarters and knew Jane had the skillset and vision to take it on.

*BREEAM is an international scheme that provides independent third party certification of the assessment of the sustainability performance of individual buildings, communities and infrastructure projects.