frost presents… Queen Victoria Street

Our new project in Reading town centre will transform a prime listed heritage asset on a strategically significant site. The mixed use development, recently submitted for planning, includes 16 retail units for boutique and independent traders, a 41 suite aparthotel and a vibrant market square.

At Frost we are big believers in the environmental advantages and opportunities of refurbishing sites and buildings. Many of our projects feature the restoration of dilapidated sites, listed buildings and heritage areas. Transforming a neglected heritage asset is not only environmentally advantageous, but also allows developers to restore and transform a building while operating within planning constraints.

As well as the economic and environmental benefits, restoring a heritage building provides developers and architects the opportunity to capitalise on the established history and reputation of the building and the area. Designs and restorations can reflect the historical theme while allowing room for modern upgrades.

Our latest scheme with Thackeray Estate, Queen Victoria Street (QVS), provided us with a further opportunity to expand on the principles of restoration, and the chance to rejuvenate a key retail and heritage area. The listed asset in Reading town centre is in a prime area of strategic significance, with substantial local travel links and an established reputation in the area.

Join as we take a closer look at the proposed scheme, and how the development presents the chance to revitalise a neglected and vacant space to create a genuine economic hub.

Restore

The existing site is located in Reading Town Centre, 200m from the train station, and contains heritage listed buildings in a deteriorating and neglected state with a variety of harmful additions. The location offers the chance to be a premium retail and economic hub, with excellent transport links and an already significant heritage reputation.

The existing buildings are of considerable architectural quality but have been compromised by unsympathetic additions. With the foundations already set for an area of architectural excellence, the careful restoration of the facades and terracotta detailing will restore the site to its former visual quality and prominence. The vacant interiors of the heritage buildings will be refurbished to provide a high quality mixed use scheme.

As well as restoring the architectural beauty of the existing buildings, the scheme will remove the low quality additions, and replace them with a sensitive, high quality and uniform proposal.

The proposed design for new shop fronts has been informed by historical photographs dating back to 1939, ensuring the new restoration respects the past while creating a design standard for the rest of the street to follow.

Restoring these listed buildings to their architectural conception, while providing sympathetic and historically informed additions, will create a modern, premium space grounded in the architectural significance and heritage of the area.

Re-use

Restoring the visual eminence and architectural quality of the site is phase one of the proposal at QVS. The next step is to put the new scheme to use.

The success of the proposal is built on three pillars; heritage retail, an aparthotel and a market square.

Listed and heritage buildings offer the perfect backdrop for a retail destination. Capitalising on the excellent location, the new scheme will be a genuine retail hub. The new high quality shopfronts will ensure a cohesive façade and create a destination identity for the hub, while independent shops and small businesses provide the diversity of the retail experience. The high street is a long suffering enterprise. The heritage identity of the hub, combined with the diverse independent retailers that will populate the scheme, will regenerate the area as stand-out retail destination.

The aparthotel is a modern phenomenon, the perfect model for town centre accommodation. It offers the services of a hotel with the freedom and comfort of an apartment. It offers a lifestyle.

By providing a location in the heart of the town, the proposal offers easy access to the local area and the chance to explore. The aparthotel is intended for short term stays serving business travellers and tourists, and attracting both international and domestic customers. By locating the aparthotel in the restored listed building, the accommodation is a truly unique experience offering customers the chance to feel part of the history of the town.

The Aparthotel at QVS offers a variety of high quality, serviced apartments in a hotel setting. By creating a travel destination on top of a retail hub, both elements are enhanced.

Rejuvenate

Placing the high quality retail and aparthotel experience within the heritage buildings creates a destination in its own right; the intention at QVS is to provide an economic hub that will rejuvenate the entire area.

The market square is key to this objective. The principle of the square is to create a collection of boutique retailers, independent food traders and artisans creating a vibrant lifestyle destination. A careful combination of partners ensure a successful public realm. Food outlets create the atmosphere while shops provide the diversity. The market square will become the heart of the community offering the complete experience.

In current times, the need for retailers and eateries to have access to outdoor space has become even more apparent. These alfresco spaces allow them to enhance their offering and create a energised atmosphere.

The new market square will see a vibrant and intimate public space offered back to the town of Reading. The square will become a key destination with high quality retail and café spaces, as well as offering the opportunity to host the kind of unique events and festivals seen around the country – farmers markets, sporting events, art festivals all offer the opportunity to create a unique, inclusive experience.

Creating an event destination, a space where people gather, share and create memories, as well as enjoying the retail experience, will rejuvenate the area and revitalise the town.

Queen Victoria Street will be an event destination. A centrepiece for the town of Reading and a tourist destination for visitors beyond. A space that could catalyse the growth of the town and transformation of the town centre experience.

February 2021

Quicker than it takes Frost to secure a planning approval, February has been and gone in an instant! With March bringing longer days, more sun, and hopefully a little more fun, we’re in an optimistic mood here at Frost. Lots of that optimism comes from all the great projects we’re working on at the moment; come and take a look at some of the things we’ve been up to in the thankfully shortest month of the year.

Queen Victoria Street – We are now in planning for this fantastic scheme in Reading, including a market square, retail space & an Aparthotel. The scheme got a glowing right up from local media, check that out here.
Parkhall Business Centre – Works are almost complete at Parkhall Business Centre, take a sneak peek here.
Dimes Place – Demolition of the old timber yard at Dimes Place is now complete, preparing the site for an exciting new development.
Dudley Road – Works are continuing at our latest project on Dudley Road, our favourite road in Wimbledon.
Bayswater Houses – Works continue on the new houses in Bayswater, and we can’t wait to show you the result.
Bennetts Hill House – Works are ongoing on our first Birmingham project, Bennetts Hill House.
Dockmasters House – We secured planning for further alterations to Dockmaster’s House, a listed building in Canary Wharf.
Birthday Blues – We had two birthdays in the office, Sam & Georgina, both of whom were gutted to miss out on the traditional office cake (less gutted to miss out on some tuneless happy birthday singing).

Parkhall Business Centre – nearly there….

Works are nearly complete at Parkhall, our latest project for Workspace, and we think it’s looking great! We can’t wait to show you the finished result.

Here’s a sneak peek at the colourful wallpaper, mix of materials and industrial lighting…

September 2020

The nights are drawing in and the weather is getting Frostier by the week. Things have stayed busy at Frost through September, have a look at some of the things we’ve been up to over the last month.

Mare Street Studios – We did a Q&A with Workspace about our latest and greatest project Mare Street Studios, take a look here.
Taxi House – The LTDA have moved into their new HQ and are delighted with the new space, getting lots of comments from passers by!
Parkhall Business Centre – Works continue at our current Workspace project, Parkhall and the site is looking good.
Bennetts Hill House – Works are due to start on site on our first ever project in Birmingham, refurbishing and extending an office building for Dunmoore.
Dudley Road – We are back on site on one of our favourite roads in Wimbledon. This time we’re adding a new annexe and extension to a lovely family home.
Bayswater Houses – We are currently on site building two new homes near Hyde Park.
Wireless Factory – We continue to work on these offices in Isleworth, which should be on site before the end of the year.
Nuffield Way – We secured planning for an additional floor to an industrial unit in Abingdon.


Frost presents… Mare Street Studios

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.

facelift

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.

sustainability

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.

texture

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.

verdict

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.)

Mare Street – Team Visit

The team went to look at our Workspace project Mare Street, which is currently on site and due to complete in January.

Check out pictures below, and for more details on the project click here

The Light Box – Team Visit

The team at Frost went to check out the recently completed Workspace project The Light Box.

An additional floor was added as well as interior refurbishment, we were delighted to see the job carried out by our friends at Collins Construction.

Check out pictures below, and more details on the project here.

China Works – Completed!

The interior refurbishment works at China Works have now finished. In collaboration with Bluebottle, we renovated the old Royal Dalton building and have breathed new life into the space, creating a fresh, modern co-working environment. Check out more pictures here.

China Works – Team Visit

The team at Frost went to check out the nearly completed Workspace project China Works.

Taking in the new Club Workspace area, Cafe, common areas and refurbished corridors, we were delighted to see the job carried out by our friends at Interior Motives.

Check out pictures below, and more details on the project here.

The Light Box – Work Continues

Works continue to progress at the Light Box on both the internal remodelling and the rooftop extension.

These washrooms are a bespoke design fitted by Stevens Washrooms, featuring light fittings by Urban Cottage Industries.

The rooftop extension is also starting to take shape, check out this great panoramic picture taken on site.

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China Works – Almost There!

Works are progressing well on site at China Works and we are excited for its nearing completion.

The original fabric of the building has been uncovered and renovated. Exposed ceiling and services reveal the ornate cast iron columns which are retained and used as a feature of the new spaces.

Learn more about this project here

BUILD Awards 2018 Winners

The team at Frost are delighted that Build Magazine have named us the Best Office Architecture & Interior Design Firm in London, and our design at the New Covent Garden Market Authority has won the Build Project Award for Best Commercial Design. See more about the winning project here.

Works Begin at Mare Street Studios

Enabling works have now started on site at Mare Street Studios, our redevelopment of a business centre for Workspace Group in Hackney.

The low grade existing buildings at the rear of the site will be demolished and the retained main building refurbished to facilitate the delivery of high quality office spaces, co-working areas and a large café.

Learn more about the project here.

Signal House – Sketch Ideas

Our concept for reinvigorating the amenity of Signal House, a residential block in Southwark.

The existing car park will be converted to provide a new entrance for the flats, a small office unit, new mail/parcel room and landscaping that creates an ‘urban oasis’.

By Simona Cojocaru

New Covent Garden Market Completed!

Frost are thrilled that our most recent Commercial project has been completed at New Covent Garden Market. We designed the fit out of the Food Exchange Building, providing office space for SME’s in the food industry. The team took a trip to check out the finished project, check out some images from our visit below.

See more photos and learn more about this project here