23 Queen Anne StreetMarylebone, W1
The Howard de Walden Estate enjoys an internationally regarded reputation for their stewardship of one of London’s oldest and most cherished historic estates, Marylebone.
The site has been the Howard de Walden Estate’s headquarters in various guises since the late 1800s. In 1882 it became the office for what was then the Portland Estate, before becoming the Howard de Walden Estate in 1901. The present building on the site dates from 1936, the Neo-Georgian style reflecting its surroundings.
We worked closely with Howard de Walden to refine the brief, and develop an elegant, contemporary design aesthetic that respected the building’s historic details and reused as much existing fabric as possible. We focused upon high quality, natural materials which would enhance those of the original building; these included Portland stone, green marble and glazed bricks, all speaking of solidity and durability. Picking up on these cues, our own material palette complements and adds to the detail, craftsmanship and finesse that are the hallmarks of buildings throughout the wider Estate.
The brief looked to maximise the potential floor area and modernise the office space within two period properties of much valued character, at the heart of a conservation area. The project ultimately saw the office space increase from around 23,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft. Rear and roof extensions of complementary design provide characterful workspaces, while the reception area has doubled in size to become a more welcoming entrance to visitors and staff alike. The in-filling of the rear lightwells, together with the extensions provide additional space on a tight site ensuring the office is versatile enough for many more years’ use.
A new circulation and services core brings a new lease of life to the building, freeing up the plan for improved office space. There are break-out areas, collaborative working zones and a large communal space on the top floor for staff and users of the building. The open plan office space reflects modern ways of working drawing upon principles of biophilic design, wellness and collaboration. There are additional external areas which have been landscaped to promote biodiversity and provide exterior spaces which can be used and enjoyed by the staff. The provision of cycle spaces and improved end-of-trip facilities help promote a healthier commute to and from the office.
Through the refurbishment dialogue, architect and client were able to place much greater emphasis on sustainability, with a number of innovations that have the potential to be rolled out across the wider Estate. The building services are now all electric via solar power and an air source heat pump, moving away from the traditional, outmoded gas fired system. Retaining and reusing materials where possible has reduced both waste and the embodied carbon load of the project.
Photographs | Timothy Soar