22 Worple Road completes
1 December 2019
Our work at 22 Worple Road redevelops an outdated and unsightly building into a contemporary workplace that elevates the standard of existing office space in Wimbledon. We wanted to make the building sit more comfortably within its immediate context whilst improving its internal environment, functionality and appeal to its users.
Situated close to Wimbledon Rail and Tube station and on the edge of a residential neighbourhood, the existing four-storey 1980s building had a heavy and cluttered presence. The elevation was dominated by a large mansard roof to conceal a servicing plant and was principally defined by accentuated triangular motif dormer windows on the third floor, with additional triangular decorative steel portal frames within the raised ground floor landscaping.
We sought to significantly improve the external appearance of the building by decluttering the façade, balancing the proportions of the elevation and refreshing its materiality. The mansard roof, which previously spanned from Level 3 to roof level, was removed and replaced with a new third floor, now uncompromised by internal roof angles. A new fourth floor is set back from the façade to create a landscaped terrace for tenants. The structural bays of windows were opened to provide large format glazing to allow more natural light into the building. Extruded window caps vertically link the bays to create a strong rhythm to the reconfigured façade. The existing brickwork was stained black to provide a bold base to the building at ground floor and to subtly darken the building’s appearance at upper levels.
The changes we have made to the façade also allow for an improved connection between the building’s entrance and the street. The building’s reception was previously set back from the street and raised above pavement level. Recessed into the building and set beneath a narrow pitched roof canopy, the unwelcoming entrance was worsened by decorative steel portal frames that disconnected the building from the streetscape. Internally, the reception space that served the building was insufficiently sized and poorly decorated. We reconfigured the entrance sequence to ensure there is now a direct connection between the street and the building. The landscaping was simplified and the stairs widened to improve the visual connection to the street, and a new canopy with integrated signage and large panelled lighting creates a distinctive entrance to the building. A platform lift was installed within the landscaping to provide wheelchair access to the building. Internally, the new spacious, sleek reception area is comprised of exposed concrete soffits, feature linear lighting, polished plaster walls and bespoke artwork to improve the sense of place upon entering the building.
Within the building, we significantly increased the available workspace and improved its condition. Two lightwells to the rear façade have been infilled to transform a horse-shoe shaped plan into floors with unbroken sight lines to the open plan offices. A central bay extension to the façade of Francis Grove was added to widen the office bay internally on lower levels and create a new private terrace for level 4 tenants with vast south-facing views.
The internal finishes of the existing floors were dated and tired with large ceiling voids compromising the potential floor-to-ceiling heights and sightlines to glazing. Suspended ceiling tiles were removed to expose feature concrete coffers and new linear direct/indirect lights were suspended within the coffers to maintain good heights across the floorplates. A central ceiling raft conceals heating and cooling provisions for the space, whilst the core has been reconfigured to provide better tenant amenities. All upper levels have been designed to allow future subdivision if needed.
Common tenant amenities have been greatly improved with a new 2,000sqft south-facing communal roof terrace. Its creation was made possible by reducing and relocating the building plant which was designed behind perforated metal panels to reduce its visual impact.
The basement carpark previously served cars only. In an effort to improve the sustainability of the building, we have installed all new commuter facilities that include, DDA carparking, electric car charging stations, motor cycle parks, 28 shared cycle racks, a cycle repair stand and male and female showers with lockers and drying rooms. New lifts have been installed to increase vertical transport capacity and a platform lift provides wheelchair access to the roof level, thus ensuring compliant access from pavement to roof.
The proposals successfully improve the external appearance of the building alongside significant internal transformations, increasing the internal space from 51,280sqft to 60,730sqft (GIA) – an increase of 20%.