M+L shortlisted for the AJ Retrofit Awards


47 Great Marlborough Street has been shortlisted for the AJ Retrofit Awards – workplace category.

The project transformed a Soho townhouse into a characterful and attractive workplace with a focus on biophilia and wellbeing. The Morrow + Lorraine team, led by Stephanie Crombie and Julian Morrow, have pulled together a complex site and programme to deliver an exceptionally well-refined building.

Originally built as a Georgian townhouse in the 18th century, 47 Great Marlborough Street has been much altered over the years; it was a bank, a beauty school, and for many years was the home of the London College of Music.

The new elements have modernised and enhanced the property with a focus on longevity, adaptability and sustainability.

The ground floor restaurant re-purposes the former recital room of the music school. The workplace is sandwiched between this new restaurant and bar which occupy the lower levels and a new residential unit on the top floor. The mixed-use brief brings richness and vibrancy to the office component and activation to the streetscape.

In the office spaces to the front of the building the original proportions of the interiors are preserved. These open up to a new three-storey extension to the rear, housing three of the four office floors. Aesthetically, the front of the building retains a sense of the Georgian townhouse, with delicate cornicing and original timber beams. To the rear the floors of the new extension are built in a more industrial aesthetic to reflect the warehouses that can be seen from the rear of the property.

Refurbishing, rather than rebuilding on this constrained site has reduced the carbon footprint of the scheme substantially as much of the original building structure and foundations were retained.

To see the other projects shortlisted for Workplace retrofit take a look at the Architects Journal announcement here.

“The landscape brief was to create an urban oasis where nature is allowed to flourish. The result is a ‘hanging gardens of Soho’, with a façade ‘dripping’ in foliage, spanning from inside to out, and acting as a counterpoint to the bricks and mortar.” Samantha Paul, Spacehub, Landscape Architects
Axonometric sectional view
“To avoid demolition and enable the revival of 47 Great Marlborough Street, some new framework and foundations were added to strengthen the existing building. We managed to refurbish and re-use much of the existing steelwork, cast-iron columns, timber, and avoid concrete floors, which saved up to 22 tonnes of carbon per level. Integrating circularity required complex design solutions and strong collaboration between stakeholders. The final design delivered increased longevity to the building’s structure and flexibility in future re-use.” Malcolm Keen, Furness Partnership, Structural Engineer