The ambition for Union House was to deliver the maximum amount of contemporary, high-end, commercial office space within an historic building in the characterful Southwark neighbourhood. Maximising the potential of this iconic, former warehouse building necessitated a thoughtful design that was respectful of the building's identity and the heritage of its location. The end result is a unique and stylish refurbishment that has transformed the existing building and has maximised the lettable floorspace in this desirable area of London.
A rooftop addition has gained an additional 634m². It is a lightweight, largely glazed and transparent structure that visually reduces its scale. Whilst its form is sympathetic to the existing building the materials enable it to be read as a distinct later addition rather than a pastiche. Solar shading in the form of solid infill panels reduces the solar gains allowing the south elevation to be environmentally functional and practical internally for tenants.
The reception and four floors were refurbished; creating high-specification and energy efficient working environments. The interior design and materials palette is in keeping with the building's history as an industrial warehouse. Reclaimed steel doors and refurbished riveted steel columns mix with clean white interiors to create a contemporary feel. The new reception area, signage and lighting help to brand the building, celebrating its heritage.
Realising the potential tied up in these older buildings and giving them a more sustainable future is compelling and Spratley & Partners has once again done an incredible job refurbishing Union House and creating a unique identity for the building.
Sam Winstone, Senior Associate, CBRE Global Investors