Architecture 00 has transformed a former shoe-polish factory in London into offices, adding a zigzagging extension on the roof that mimics the gabled profile of the existing building.
Charitable organisation the Ethical Property Company asked London studio Architecture 00 to develop a facility that could house various charities on a disused industrial site in Vauxhall.
The building also provides amenities including meeting rooms and a cafe – a resource that anyone can make use of.
Recognising the aesthetic and spatial qualities of the existing 20th-century brick factory building, as well as its heritage within the neighbourhood, the architects chose to preserve and extend it into an derelict service yard adjacent to the site.
“The original factory has a beautiful robust quality that is never quite matched by modern buildings,” said architect Lyndon Pepper. “Its main facade is very handsome and the interior spaces are generous, with interesting features that were created for very specific functions.”
Retaining and restoring the existing structure also offered a more cost-effective solution, so a design was formulated to update it with a new public entrance and communal area, as well as additional offices, meeting rooms, presentation spaces, catering facilities and outdoor terraces.
The original brick facade features typical gable ends, as well as other traditional details including chimneys. The cowls – originally fitted to stop smoke blowing back down into the work spaces – were removed and replaced with extractors, allowing the chimneys to be repurposed as part of a new ventilation system.
The spaces of the former factory became flexible open-plan offices, with a series of smaller subdivided units on the first floor, while the new addition contains the communal and public facilities.
The brickwork of the former factory’s external wall is left exposed and is complemented by simple, low-cost materials including concrete and wood.
“We wanted to retain the pragmatic efficiency that accompanies most industrial buildings in terms of flexibility, economy and material efficiency,” said Pepper. “By choosing materials that do not require finishes, as in industrial buildings, you also become more economical both in the short and long term.”