The Gramophone Works | Phase 1 | The Saga Building | Studio RHE

London London / 2018

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The project is a refurbishment and remodelling of the original early 20th century warehouse buildings overlooking the Grand Union Canal. The development retains a strong canal side industrial character whilst introducing new and contemporary architecture & office environments to the site. New timber terraces provide exciting external spaces overlooking the canal and internal courtyard. The proposal provides 19,364 ft of B1 Commercial space and is the first phase of a larger scheme due for completion in 2020. 


The project brief was to update, remodel and reinvent the disjointed and run down buildings to provide a high quality functional commercial development with a clear identity that is relevant, inclusive & contextual to the regenerating & vibrant community & built environment of Kensal New Town. 


The design results from Studio RHE’s ongoing research into the changing practice of ‘work’ and shifts in the office market. The design provides a blue-print for the adaptive re-use of existing office stock to create more flexible, diverse and adaptable space.


Shared Reception and amenity spaces are placed at the very centre of the scheme to support the office spaces and provide a centralised sense of community. The insertion of the new public realm linking Kensal Road with the canal has the effect of embedding the development within the urban grain to ensure its success and longevity.


A main conceptual theme informing the design is the idea of giving a clear and coherent character to the building to create a marketable identity as well as a strong functional and flexible workplace community


The reception space has a flexible lighting rig that can be reconfigured to create a gallery or event space for the building. The reception desk itself is a dynamic three-dimensional extrapolation of the new building identity and logo. The furniture and fittings have been selected to encourage use of the space as an informal communal meeting area.


The internal environment  has been stripped back to its shell and core then refitted in a contemporary and efficient way. Where possible existing original structures have been exposed and celebrated. In practical terms this means the reinforced concrete frame is stripped back and shown beyond the exposed services. In some instances the existing timber roof beams are fire protected and  retained with new insulation placed above them. Elsewhere new timber structures have been installed to replicate the original to enhance the heritage values and aesthetic of the building.


Services are all exposed galvanised steel which benefits the overall industrial aesthetic and ensures costs are minimised.


The overall philosophy of the development is that the phase 1 buildings will provide an eclectic sense of historical character and heritage with small sub-dividable spaces suitable to creative SMEs. These will help establish the community and identity of the development and contrast well with the larger, more contemporary and uniform spaces that will be provided in phase 2.


As such the phase 1 development takes a long term view on material quality and build construction that will eventually see it fit into a much larger and more costly development. At the same time this is balanced with the developer’s need to limit costs to allow the initial phase to act as an enabler of the second phase. This has been achieved by re-using, exposing and celebrating as much of the existing fabric and character while contrasting it with high quality new materials, especially where they can be seen close up or interacted with.

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    The project is a refurbishment and remodelling of the original early 20th century warehouse buildings overlooking the Grand Union Canal. The development retains a strong canal side industrial character whilst introducing new and contemporary architecture & office environments to the site. New timber terraces provide exciting external spaces overlooking the canal and internal courtyard. The proposal provides 19,364 ft of B1 Commercial space and is the first phase of a larger scheme due for...

    Project details
    • Year 2018
    • Work finished in 2018
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Waterfront / Urban development plans / Office Buildings / Business Centers / Offices/studios / Industrial facilities / Interior Design / Custom Furniture / Graphic Design / Urban Renewal / Bridges and Walkways / Waterworks/Water Systems / Cycle Paths / Warehouses / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings / Restoration of façades / Recovery of industrial buildings / Building Recovery and Renewal
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