White Collar Factory

  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar
  • © Tim Soar

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Commendation

Region

Greater London

Local Authority Area

Islington

Information about this scheme

White Collar Factory (WCF) is a complex of six buildings at Old Street Yard, which includes offices, studios, incubator space, restaurants and apartments, set around a new area of public realm, with a sixteen-storey tower topped by a 150m rooftop running track. Together, these 27,200 sqm buildings create a new, more permeable section of the city that references the alleys and passageways of the historic urban grain. The mixed-use development is the culmination of an eight-year research project which analysed why 19th century warehouses and factory buildings have enjoyed such longevity, and how these structures could inform and inspire a sustainable development. It identified five key elements: high ceilings, deep plans, simple passive façades, concrete structure, and smart servicing, which were to become the driving principles behind White Collar Factory. To realistically test the systems and to launch the idea to prospective tenants, a 325 sqm prototype was built above a redundant service yard. It had long spans, openable windows, large volumes, Concrete Core Cooling and robust construction, as developed in the baseline model. The prototype stood on site for twelve months from 2013 to 2014, its environmental performance data recorded and analysed, before being dismantled. Building the prototype enabled the design team to test the details in a 1:1 working mock-up and gave more certainty when work began on the full scheme. Drawing inspiration for the new build tower from the work of French designer Jean Prouvé, whose design ethos was led by logic, balance and purity. Featuring long spans, flexible floor plates, operable windows, generous volumes and robust construction, WCF is a “long life, loose fit, low energy” office building that uses concrete in several innovative ways. As well as forming the structure, the concrete provides the thermal mass, carries the servicing, and creates a highly expressive finish both inside and out. Board-shuttered concrete wraps the building at pavement level. Above, glazing is interspersed with metal panels punched with ‘portholes’, and banded with powder-coated aluminium spandrel panels. In contrast, the lower rise buildings have a range of brick elevation treatments but are unified by a common modular plant enclosure at roof level.

Credits

Architect

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Client

Derwent London

Main Contractor

Multiplex

M&E Engineers

Arup

Structural Engineer

AKT II

Project Manager

Jackson Coles

Quantity Surveyor

AECOM

Landscape Architect

BB UK Studio

Environmental Consultant

Middlemarch Environmental

Access Consultant

All Clear Designs

Planning Consultant

Tibbalds

Primary Use Class

Class B1 - Business