Mare Street Studios is the culmination of a 5 year process with Workspace and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the result. This 83,000 sq ft project has transformed the old run down 20th Century warehouse buildings into a sleek, modern flexible office business centre.
Workspace Development Director, Angus Boag, says “We are delighted with our new flagship business centre at Mare Street Studios where Frost and the team have delivered an exciting design providing some of the best flexible space in east London.”
Unfortunately we are unable to show you around, so let’s take a closer look at some of the design, detail and delivery of our latest project.
As Architects, we know how important the exterior of a building is to both office providers and their customers. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so the external façade is the first and best opportunity to demonstrate design quality. Originally a furniture factory but more recently used by a mix of light industrial business, the existing buildings were in bad need of a facelift.
The main warehouse building fronting onto Mare Street has received a full makeover with façade cleaning, new windows, new entrance and a shiny glass box rooftop extension.
To the rear, the workshop ‘sheds’ were of such low quality they were demolished and replaced with a 4 storey extension. This gave us the opportunity to have a little fun with a nod to the site’s history. We designed a new brick façade of modest yet playful brick detailing to reflect the warehouse buildings of the past while sitting comfortably in the diverse urban fabric of Hackney. The brick corbelling adds depth and layers, together with projecting headers and recessed panels creating an eye catching dimensional appearance and rhythm. This allows the building to stand out as high quality, while retaining its heritage and reflecting its immediate geography. Standing out while fitting in is a tricky needle to thread, but we think this subtle yet quality design does just that.
At Frost we have always been champions of sustainable design. We seek to create buildings with longevity that understand their place in space and time. Mare Street Studios gave us the opportunity to realise these ideals. From the conception of the project, achieving BREEAM excellent was a high priority for Workspace and ourselves, and several steps were taken to achieve the target.
The main warehouse building was retained to reduce waste and satisfy our desire to reuse and recycle. The windows were replaced with thermally efficient products, and by removing the existing roof for a rooftop extension, we were able to improve the thermal performance of the building fabric.
PVs are located on the roof to offset energy consumption, and green roofs were installed to the rear extension roof to encourage biodiversity. A more sustainable and effective substrate to the green roof was used including recycled crushed bricks and clay and organic composted bark fines. Wildlife is further encouraged through the use of bird and bat boxes at high level and through the use of wildflower species.
community & wellbeing
Community & wellbeing are also high up on the agenda. Workspace are renowned for their flexible office model, providing co-working spaces for start-ups, remote workers and freelancers, while also providing high quality private office premises for companies that graduate to a more permanent and tethered location. Shared spaces then, such as co-working areas, cafes, tea points and meeting rooms must be quality and comfortable, helping facilitate growth and inspiring the community of customers.
These principles have been achieved at Mare Street Studios in a variety of ways. We have made provision for storing 144 bikes together with generous and luxurious shower facilities, encouraging commuters to cycle. All customers have access to the central roof terrace creating an urban oasis overlooking London. The provision of communal outdoor space is vital to worker wellbeing as well as to networking and collaboration. Many offices also have their own private outdoor spaces.
Private spaces have also been designed with wellbeing in mind. The phonebooths, strategically scattered around the building, are softly lit and decorated with tactile materials and textures to promote a relaxed atmosphere. The acoustic panels help the space feel private, cosy and intimate. The mustard yellow wall panels add a splash of colour and vibrancy.
The use of materials and textures is reinforced as you move around the building. The new concrete stair and lift core with black metal detailing to handrails and nosings further accentuates and remembers the site’s industrial past.
The corridors are animated through internal glass screens connecting the customers with the building and contributing to its life. The rough textures of the concrete frame and exposed brickwork are juxtaposed against a cool slick resin floor reminding us that this is a building fit for modern day working.
If you are looking for a high quality modern office in a building with a strong sense of community and an environment of wellbeing and a link to the past… we really do think that Mare Street Studios delivers! (But hey we’re biased of course.)