Fostering a legacy in London
Updating classic buildings to suit modern office requirements, while staying true to the original design intent, requires skilful consideration. 200 Gray’s Inn Road is the work of renowned architect Sir Norman Foster, and his foresight proved generations ahead of the time.
Located in the heart of London this property was built in 1990 by ITN as its headquarters and broadcasting hub. The challenge for the owner, architect and design team embarking on a phased refurbishment of the building, was to modernise the fitout to ensure original design integrity whilst ensuring 24/7 operations for Britain’s largest independent news broadcaster.
200 Gray’s Inn road was first conceived by ITN as their purpose built headquarters,” says Ian Cartwright, Project Manager for Great Portland Estates, the property managers for 200 Gray’s Inn Road. “The Foster’s and partners design proved to be a unique scheme for an office building. Compared to most modern buildings, the structural loadings and floor to ceiling heights are completely different to the normal standards for offices today.”
Making the most of the design meant bringing the features of the building to the fore. Once the existing services were stripped out, a surprising discovery was made – a coffered slab. This unexpected element meant a shift in the design approach.
“Once we discovered this coffered slab the client brief changed, with the main aim of exposing the soffit to make a feature of the ceiling and actually have exposed services throughout,” says NDY Senior Mechanical Engineer, Ragz Padayachi. “This meant that we had to go back to the drawing board and change the services strategy.”
Redesigning the fitout to take advantage of the soffit meant completely rethinking the services strategy – a task that required a high level of collaboration between the architects, engineers and client.
“The key challenge is centred around clearing that high level slab of all the existing services – all the unnecessary services,” says Rob Smith, Senior project director for Overbury. “What was left was the high level zumptobel ladder frame fittings.”
The redesign meant that the mechanical services had to be moved to the outer extremities of the building, exposing the soffit, and reducing the noise and vibration being transferred into the broadcasting areas.