In 2012 we moved into our new BREEAM 'Excellent' studios after radically transforming a dilapidated 19th century warehouse on the Regent's Canal in Islington, London.
The Foundry is located on a narrow, south-facing stretch of towpath. It falls within a conservation area and both the south brick wall facing the canal and the original timber roof trusses are locally listed.
Our design responds to the building's canal-side setting and the listed structural elements that had to be retained. An added complication was that the south brick wall was leaning by 250mm from bottom to top towards the canal and significant structural works were needed to arrest movement.
The structural solution that we devised was to insert a steel frame that interacts with the original Victorian steel frame and masonry. This stablises the existing building fabric, including the south wall and also supports the listed timber trusses.
Steel shear walls articulate the two circulation zones that frame the studio spaces. A horizontal truss, with intermediate supports, spans between the shear walls, supporting the failing south wall and creating a void against it. This allowed the double-height windows to remain largely as they were.
The first floor is self-contained and open plan, leaving the assembly of roof trusses undisturbed. The first floor has a particularly generous amount of daylight and cross ventilation. This was achieved by cutting the existing north wall off at first floor sill level, and hanging a continuous band of glazing from the new steel frame.
We have created a beautiful and efficient workplace for ourselves - proving that retrofit can be as inspiring as new build - but we are also using our first-hand experience of running a newly completed building as a research exercise.
RICS London Awards - Design Through Innovation (2014)
AJ Retrofit Awards - Offices under £5m (2013)
Ventilation + Heat recovery
Sustainable building materials
Outdoor view maximised
Tackling energy efficiency in existing buildings is critical. We took a ‘fabric first’ approach and re-used almost 80 per cent of the fabric of the existing building. The building has been refurbished to BREEAM ‘excellent’.
The walls, roof and floors are highly insulated: for the north and south walls a thick layer of blown recycled newspaper was used. After maximising insulation, and providing as much natural light and ventilation as possible, we employed low energy technologies to provide space heating and energy generation.
An air source heat pump provides domestic hot water and under-floor heating. Photovoltaic panels on the south slopes of the roof generate electricity, and mechanical ventilation with heat recovery services the toilets. These systems are controlled through a Building Management System, and energy performance and space temperatures are monitored through an internet-based dashboard.
70.00 KW/m² (22.190 KBtu/ft²)
Annual carbon footprint:
32.10 KgCO2m² (345.522 KgCO2/ft²)
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Building services engineer:
Max Fordham LLP
Jerram Falkus Construction
BREEAM 2008 UK Offices Excellent