‘Steam pumping stations are exceptional buildings, a rousing, eloquent architecture and an industrial edifice intended to express civic pride. They were invented, perfected, and superseded in barely a century, during the determined struggle to overcome the historic threat to urban life posed by industrialisation. Of the buildings of the industrial period, only train stations can compete with waterworks for stylistic bravura, carried over into the cool, tiled interiors and the sparkle and warmth of the cherished steam engine.’
In the spirit of the words above from the book ‘The Architecture of Steam’, the second phase of the Morelands and Riverdale project has completed to create one of the world’s largest DNA manufacturing facilities in London, and the only one in a Listed building.
The transformation of the second phase of this Grade II-listed Victorian waterworks refurbishment started during lock-down and has completed to produce a beautifully restored Victorian building which covers some 50,000 sq ft. The new facility has 11 suites and includes two class B filling suites with class A filling cabinets, warehousing, together with a quality control laboratory and has already received a successful customer quality audit from a Big Pharma company.
Jonny Ohlson, Touchlight’s Executive Chair and Founder:
“Touchlight has a long-held belief that scientists, like all creatives, function best in beautiful spaces. Whilst it may not, on the face of it, seem logical to site a GMP manufacturing facility in a waterworks that has been derelict for 70 years, the site has a large footprint of beautiful Victorian buildings which, now converted, provide a stunning and iconic facility that is an inspiring place to work. I am sure our Victorian predecessors would be proud that we have converted it into one of the largest capacity DNA manufacturing sites in the world today.”
The brief given to Chapman Architects was exciting and pragmatic – to be both practical in the reuse of the existing building, whilst complementing its original features with modern additions. The result is the creation of a beautiful space which makes the most of this unique building’s light and incredible volume, realising Jonny Ohlson’s vision of providing an inspiring place to work in an iconic facility. The complex renovation of the building started in 2016, led by Chapman Architects, to make the space suitable for research and development and manufacturing activities, whilst maintaining many of the building’s original features, such as the brickwork, tiling and windows.
The building’s slate-covered roofs required extensive work, supported by original iron and steel trusses, which were innovative at the time of their design and have been preserved as part of the restoration, weaving beautiful Victorian architecture and engineering with high-tech labs, meeting rooms, manufacturing suites and other workspaces.