41 Clarendon Road
Clarendon Road in Watford is a popular commercial area, a rapidly evolving mix of businesses close to the town centre, rail and tube networks and major motorways. The existing building at 41 Clarendon Road has five storeys and there is a multi-storey car park to the rear. It is all in much need of modernising and renovations and our brief was to create a vibrant, sustainable workplace that stood out from its competition, providing exceptional office and amenity spaces.
The new mixed use space known as the ‘Box’ was a central feature of our proposal. At almost 5000 sq ft, and split over multiple levels, it occupies a small pocket of vacant land next to the car park. A lightweight steel frame structure, Meccano-like in form, it contains amenities including a dance studios, external astroturf, flexible breakout terraces and bookable function rooms that overlook the activities below. A gym, changing facilities and bike storage ground the building and link it to the car park and main building. Living green walls and sedum roofs enhance the biodiversity of the scheme and help shield the proposal visually and acoustically from the main road behind.
The design maximises the full use of the site, while not attempting to build over the car park, which would have been structurally complex and cost prohibitive. This also minimises the loss of parking spaces which are offered as a premium to the office building’s occupants. Integrated bike storage increases the site’s provision by 466%. The proposed works include elements of renewable and low energy systems, including LED lighting and smart controls throughout, an energy efficient air plant with heat recovery and water-saving low flow water outlets and fittings. The plan also includes Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and we are targeting an EPC A and BREEAM Excellent rating as a minimum for the amenities deck.
We helped lead this proposal through a seamless pre-app and full planning application process, presenting the scheme in various guises, including our first animation walk-around of the ‘Box’. We guided Watford Borough Council Planning Authority through every step and this resulted in a positive planning application, on time and with few conditions. The planning officer commented that this was an exemplar proposal for an amenity offering which others along Clarendon Road could benefit from.