Our London Studio has picked up a prestigious NLA Retrofit Award

19 Dec 2023

HTA Design reimagined and repurposed a Victorian warehouse in Hackney Wick, East London, creating a permanent new home for its 200 London-based staff. Built in 1868 as a factory to manufacture the world’s first synthetic plastic, the warehouse originally comprised four separate buildings and was identified as a significant piece of heritage within the Hackney Wick masterplan. This intervention demonstrates what can be achieved when a company acts on the needs of its people. It sets the bar for creative-led businesses keen to achieve organisational resilience by shaking off the prohibitive cost of London’s corporate core. The outcome provides an environmentally and socially sustainable new purpose to the building.

Our design approach retained and celebrated the hugely varied brickwork structure and the large timber and ironwork roof trusses. The addition of mezzanine floors, staircases and rooflights helped connect the four separate buildings into one seamless, fully accessible, interconnected whole workspace with added drama of huge double height spaces. The spaces within offer the variety and flexibility essential for today’s needs, but with future adaptability in mind. A muted colour palette celebrates inspired by the existing building fabric and draws on precedents and history of the surrounding context. Recycled timber and cork add to the natural finishes and as well as the reuse of all joinery and furniture from our previous home in Aldgate, optimising circularity as part of our sustainability ambitions. The result is a bright, light-filled, and calm atmosphere for staff and visitors.

A fully accessible WC and shower room is provided. At first floor level, the team had to carefully infill floor voids and form openings between spaces to install a DDA compliant lift. Where the existing fabric meant a walkway couldn’t be lowered, they designed a small internal ramp with a new skylight above.

Active travel is encouraged through the provision of excellent cycle and running facilities, showers, and drying rooms. A generous open plan kitchen and communal dining area encourages the practice team to come together over freshly cooked lunches, locally sourced, provided by the practice every day.