Transforming a tired East London office into a beautiful place to work

Albert House

December 2015
The Office Group
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Co-working market leaders, The Office Group wanted a new location in the heart of Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout. BAA’s task was to transform Albert House, a particularly unattractive office building into the kind of fresh, functional and innovative space that would attract creatives and tech start ups in a highly competitive area.

Tenants might vary from one person needing desk space and a business address, to breakthrough businesses with thirty staff, so our brief included a diverse provision of spaces to support a variety of working preferences.

Open plan hot-desking, office units at a variety of sizes, and meeting rooms, combined with generous breakout areas centred around the core on every floor. Terraces on the third and sixth floors provide additional outdoor space for tenants. Other facilities include a bar, lounge and gym. A redundant low height area at ground floor has been ingeniously transformed into a cinema, featuring padded beams, tiered steps and deckchairs.

The outside of this prominent building required a significant makeover with greater street presence for entrances on both Singer Street and Old Street. A new contemporary black treatment of the façade is a foil to bespoke illuminated signage marking both entrances.

A discreet exterior gives way to ‘industrial chic’ interiors with exposed services and bare concrete. Finishes have been inspired by the Chicago speakeasies of the 1920s with geometric patterns and ceramic floor tiles used to break up the vast floor plan at ground and first floor levels, and individual colours used to create intuitive zoning. Other art deco references include reeded glass, copper accents, mosaic, and turquoise leather.

At ground floor level, the u-values of the building shell have been improved with new fenestration and doors to the entrances. There is new lighting throughout, with LED fittings to all offices which switch off when unoccupied. New mechanical ventilation assists with the movement of air and include heat recovery. Ample bike storage and low energy shower facilities encourage Albert House staff to cycle to work.