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Privacy Policy

This privacy policy sets out how Weston Williamson + Partners uses and protects any information that you give us when you use this website. We are committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement. We may change this policy from time to time by updating this page; please check back from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from May 1 2018.

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  • Contact information including email address
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Controlling your personal information

  • You may request details of, or deletion of, personal information which we hold about you under the General Data Protection Regulation 2018. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please telephone the studio on +44 (0) 20 7401 8877

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Commercial Refurbishment Projects and Sustainability

As the UK begins its hosting of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, our thoughts have turned to how we, as architects can address the climate change emergency through our work.

As the UK begins its hosting of the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, our thoughts have turned to how we, as architects can address the climate change emergency through our work.

The re-use and refurbishment of existing buildings is inherently more sustainable than new build projects and is crucial to supporting our industry’s net-zero carbon targets. By retaining the existing structure, refurbishment uses less materials resulting in less embodied carbon than even the most sustainable new building. However re-use and refurbishment is not always straight forward, with existing buildings comes a range of unknowns to be discovered.

At WW+P we have carefully adapted protected buildings and structures, eliminating the embodied energy associated with demolition and reconstruction. Our focus is on sympathetically enhancing the existing buildings environmental performance and functionality, and celebrating the distinctive features that make them special. Our work delivers not just the environmental benefits, but also commercial and social benefits.

Through sensitive refurbishment we extended the lifespan of the British Embassy in Paris, an important building on one of Paris’ main streets.

This historic Embassy building pre-dates energy standards and the condition of the original works, meant a complete re-wiring of the building and its services was necessary. Working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office we undertook a wholesale update of the building, bringing spaces in line with modern energy standards and working practices.

We accentuate the high ceilings, maximising the amount of natural daylight achieved in the redesigned open plan offices and meeting rooms. Alterations to building services ensured that the working conditions and internal comfort levels were significantly improved through reduced overheating and improved ventilation.

We were delighted to be involved in the next chapter of this beautiful building’s history, on one of Paris’ most famous streets. We carefully considered all the heritage, security and office requirements and created inspirational interiors in keeping with such a significant UK government building. The project built on the experience of our workplace and interior architecture teams in the UK, adapting existing buildings to accommodate the changing needs of the working environment and maximise the energy efficiency of the space for future users

WW+P Project Architect, Michelle Barrett

We reduced waste throughout the process by ensuring as many as possible existing materials and building components, like doors, were retained. Environmentally responsible finishes and materials were used throughout, with modern energy efficient fittings introduced to improve performance. The timber and modular steel staircases were the only new interventions within the building, both structures utilised modern methods of construction and sustainably sourced materials to reduce their impact on the building’s fabric.

The Embassy’s rich heritage was respected throughout the refurbishment process, with sympathetic design that dramatically improves the building’s environmental performance and create spaces that suit modern working practices.

Adopting this approach we uncovered ornate ceiling details, previously hidden from view. It is the intention to restore as much as possible to accentuate the building’s character, showing the qualities that has seen it act as the official residence of the British Ambassador since 1814.

An historic or listed building is not a constraint when considering renovations and environmental improvements, instead it is an opportunity to restore and celebrate the building’s character. We recognise the qualities existing buildings have that new builds struggle to replicate, our design work celebrates these, adding value and extending the usable lifespan of these sites, to create unique places for the building’s owners.

Re-using to Maximise Value

Our own London studio, located within the Valentine Place Conservation Area in Southwark, was a former photographic studio and prior to that a Victorian warehouse. In refurbishing the building, we were able to accentuate the historic features, while create an adaptable and flexible working environment through the introduction of modern technology.

Sustainability was high on our agenda, we employed a passive design strategy, utilising natural methods of heating and cooling. Exposing the timber roof trusses allowed new skylights to flood the upper workspace with natural light. At ground level the original steel frame windows were refurbished and, where there were previously warehouse doors, insulated channel glazing was introduced.

Contributing to our Low Carbon Future

Working with Network Rail to relocate 900 staff members into the Grade II Listed Baskerville House, one of Birmingham’s most prominent and historic buildings in Centenary Square, our brief was to create a new working environment which exemplified best practice design.

Through extensive collaboration with stakeholders, we were able to add value and implement a leading-edge design concept of ‘activity settings’. This approached tailored spaces to suit the specific tasks undertaken by Network Rail’s staff, with an appropriate environment available for any specific task or team. The design allowed for both collaborative working and private concentration, promoting wellbeing and productivity with staff able to choose the environment most appropriate to their task.

Sustainability was central to the design process with Network Rail targeting a BREEAM rating of Very Good. We designed to minimise reinstatement works and wastage at the end of the tenancy. We delivered items were not site specific, and through innovative product selection could be reused at future location.

By promoting the ability to reinstate materials, fittings and furniture in an alternative location we prioritised their future use instead of defaulting to recycling, where large amounts of energy can be required to make material useable again. This approach mirrors the principles of refurbishment and highlights the positives of re-use over the creation of something new.

It’s fantastic for us to see some of the great work that our teams in Property undertake and particularly great for us to see the passion our people have for the work they do. It was obvious to us all that you really care about the work you do and the way you do it. Baskerville House is looking fantastic and for me is a flagship building on the estate and you helped to make that happen, so well done

Sam Turner, Finance Director, Property Network Rail

I just want to say a big thank you for this fabulous office… everything [has] worked out really well and everyone seems very happy. The natural light makes a big difference to our moods

Silva Freeman, Team Organiser, LNW South IP Signaling

Conclusion

Existing buildings can pose significant challenges to the design of an accessible, flexible and sustainable working environment, but in addition to the clear environmental benefits, reusing these buildings offers significant time and cost savings for clients over demolishing and reconstructing.


Related Projects

How can we help?

Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about us and how we work with our clients, consultants and colleagues.