Great James Street by Emrys Architects

Great James Street by Emrys Architects

Interior Architecture and Design

The client at Great James Street wished to break out from the confined spaces of the Georgian terrace to allow easier communication between each other whilst retaining some delineation between departments

Emrys’ solution was to retain and enhance the grandeur of the listed terrace and to introduce an entirely new structure in the tight landlocked space to the rear to create a dramatic transition from old to the new.

Following an audit of the existing outbuildings, it was agreed with the local authority to retain some elements. The most notable feature was the existing silver vault, a brick barrel arched structure that included a heavy steel door. Whilst this was not ideally located, it was used as the starting point for the space plan of the lower floors and became an unconventional meeting room.

The new structure is on two levels and is accessible from the Georgian terrace at both lower ground and ground floors. The work spaces have been configured to allow departments to occupy clearly demised areas, yet still allow full connectivity between groups. Departments are positioned in areas that have the best natural light and access to the external courtyards. There are no physical divisions between each place.

An asymmetric lofted ceiling sits under the new roof with recessed lighting accentuating the geometric planes. A double height void is cut out at the rear and a cantilevered timber staircase rises through to connect the floors. Use of roof lights and glazed access to courtyard areas has ensured that the building is flooded with light. Chevron oak parquet floor runs throughout the new offices and timber joists on the lower floor have been left exposed and lime washed.

Faced with the restriction of the landlocked site, Emrys took the existing heights of key points around the perimeter to the rear of the listed building and used this for inspiration for an unusual triangulated roof form.

In order to maximise the potential of the space and introduce drama, certain elements of the roof shape were pulled upward increasing the internal floor to ceiling heights. The contemporary folded roof form is complemented by the use of a copper bronze alloy in a flush rain screen arrangement, the patina selected to harmonise with the existing townhouse.

The walls adjacent to the light wells are fully glazed and additional windows and roof lights added to maximise light penetration into the plan.

The structure is made up of a series of folded triangular plates that are self-supporting when all panels are in place. These are retained by a continuous light weight steel ring beam that ties all the panels together and prevents them from sliding away. Triangular roof lights are placed outside this ring beam and allow light to penetrate down to the lower ground floor.

Photos © Alan Williams




















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