Weiss Architecture Studio

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Buro Four

The Project

This project comprised of the redevelopment of a former Victorian primary school into a flagship headquarters for Buro Four, a well known firm of construction project managers.

The Brief

In 2006 Chapman Architects were appointed to research the operational and market perception requirements of the business. They went on to define the building brief and carry out an extensive search for a building that would accommodate Buro Four’s London Headquarters with room for expansion. A large office building that was relatively close to the existing Headquarters, but in need of refurbishment was selected.

The brief for the new building included the design of a better range of facilities, increased connectivity and an aesthetic that would reflect the Buro Four brand.

The existing entrance was unsatisfactory, and there was a concern that spreading the office out over 4 floors would prevent the creation of a cohesive office space. Chapman Architects overcame this through the removal of a one-storey block to the rear, to be replaced with a 3-storey atrium that would create an impressive reception space, whilst also integrating the various parts of the building.

The ground floor combines informal and formal meeting spaces and a coffee bar to create an attractive front of house area. The upper floors consist of two floor spaces either side of a stair lobby. By widening the original narrow Victorian doorways, introducing magnetic hold-open doors and creating a new glass link structure on the second floor, a far more homogenous space has been created.

The removal of redundant services allows the original quality of the spaces and features such as cast iron radiators and timber panelling to inform the industrial aesthetic of the fit out. The atrium space has retained much of the original external masonry which contrasts well with the highly finished glazing design.

To meet Buro Four’s sustainability objectives, the scheme optimises natural light afforded by the high ceilings and tall windows, includes the recycling of existing cooling units to minimise waste and utilises the atrium to draw out stale air from all floors. The building includes systems to reduce unnecessary lighting and desktop power management systems. New shower facilities have been incorporated to encourage staff to cycle to work.

Photography: Peter Cook