This new building at 42 Berners Street is sister to that at 18 Wells Street, also designed by BuckleyGrayYeoman. Fitzrovia is characterised by buildings of widely differing age, use and appearance, sitting on a lively grid of streets which have an unusually intimate feel for central London. Our clients, The Berners-Allsopp Estate, like many of the landowners who first developed Fitzrovia in the eighteenth century, still have a strong commitment to the area. They wanted 42 Berners Street to set a new standard for future developments within the estate, investing in high quality design and materials that would stand the test of time.
The new building replaces two older ones, both primarily used for offices, but with two residential units on the upper floors of 43-44 Berners Street. The clients wanted to increase the available office space and, due to the need to provide a residential offset for this uplift, the planning consent also gave permission for the rebuild of nearby 18 Wells Street, partly for residential use.
The scale of the development suited it for occupation by a single organisation as well as multiple tenants, so we wanted it to feel like a potential headquarters, quietly assertive as well as appropriate to its setting. The result is a sculptural, monolithic elevation of light Portland stone and bronze surrounds onto Berners Street, with deep-set reveals that break up the mass of the facade. Retail units sit at street and basement level adjacent to the double-height entrance lobby, which leads to a single core serving the six levels of office floors above. Each of these floors has some outdoor space, the two upper storeys having terraces that run the full length of the building.