Borough: The London Borough of Camden Size and use: 8,500m²
of commercial office space plus A3 restaurant use Status: Completed
Record Hall is the reimagining of an outmoded industrial building in
Clerkenwell into offices and studios for a wide variety of small- and
medium-sized businesses. The project demonstrates how intelligent design can bring clarity and character
to what was a previously complex and incoherent site, and create a place where
old and new can not simply co-exist but flourish.
Karakusevic Carson Architects were appointed by Workspace
substantially extend and refurbish a 1920s commercial building situated in the
Hatton Garden Conservation Area, amongst the narrow streets of Leather Lane. The area around Hatton Garden has been at the centre of the UK’s
jewellery trade since medieval times, but it has recently also become home to a diverse range of media and creative businesses. The
ambition was to reimagine the space as one that would feel more active,
retaining lower-cost workshops for businesses in the jewellery sector that had
been there for some time while opening new space for other creative industries.
Formed of two distinct parts, the building is situated in a tight site on a narrow street. Apart from the labyrinthine and run-down interiors, the street-facing elevation felt more like it was the back of something and a large part of the ground floor was occupied by a car park.
was to give the building a new public face and welcoming entrance. By extending
outwards to the boundary line we were also able to reorganise the interior with
generous and legible circulation around a single large rectangular lightwell. The
main entrance to the building was re-located to the centre of the plan to give
it a direct visual relationship with the new lightwell.
The stepped profile of the building was used
to form a diverse range of workspaces, from small units for jewellery workshops
in the basement, ground, and first floors, to medium-sized units around the
perimeters of the mid floors defined by the existing structural grid, while
large open plan spaces were located on the top two floors. A final addition is
located at the upper levels where shared terraces provide rooftop views of the
surrounding city. The client’s ambition for buildings that foster collaboration
was realised in the design of high quality communal spaces that create
opportunities for building users to stop and chat.
The principal aim was to bring clarity and
character to the existing complexity and incoherence, both in terms of the
spatial organisation and material expression. The primary interventions were
threefold: outwards – fronted with a redbrick precast façade onto the street;
upwards, with an anodised aluminium cladding; and through – the white glazed
brick lining of the new central lightwell.
Precast and off-site production methods were used for the new façade systems which ensured an optimised construction programme. In addition, efficient new building services, the
incorporation of high performance insulation to both new and existing elements
of fabric and a wildflower green roof have all contributed to the achievement
of a BREEAM Excellent rating.
Record Hall is a subtle piece of architecture that mixes old and new in a way
that allows you to glimpse and discover new elements rather than have them shouting
for attention. It speaks of pragmatism and innovation, working with the fabric
of the area’s history and future whilst contributing to the streetscape of a
distinctive and much-loved part of London.
Architect: Karakusevic Carson Architects
Engineer and BREEAM Consultant: Thornton Tomasetti