Text description provided by the architects. Following a fire in March 2010, the burnt out shell of the original building was all that stood on the site of Two Tabernacle Street. The building’s owner, Durley Investment Corporation, sought to redevelop the site into offices suited to Shoreditch’s media and technology sector. Piercy&Company’s response was to approach the challenging L-shaped site as two distinct elements: the re-instatement of the narrow Victorian façade to Tabernacle Street; and brass- clad office spaces in the centre of the site. Details of the surviving features of the Victorian façade to Tabernacle Street were carefully measured and catalogued.
A refined interpretation of the original period elevation was then painstakingly constructed, to be in keeping with the surrounding Victorian warehouse character and that of the conservation area in which it sits and to align with the revised internal floor levels. Imperial brickwork with weathered pointing and stonework cills, cornices and column capitals bear on one another to create an authentic Victorian masonry frame. Openings are spanned with steel beams and infilled with traditionally detailed double glazed sash and casement windows. At street level a 3m x 4m frameless glazed picture window to the reception space provides a contemporary touch.
On entering the building, period elements such as plaster cornices, picture rails, a ceiling rose and exposed imperial brickwork in the reception act as a foil to minimalist features, including an angular chandelier (by New York designer Bec Brittain), simply detailed oak wall panelling and large format floor tiles. A generous 6m floor to ceiling height and a small first floor gallery provide an unexpected volume given the narrow street elevation.
Much of the exterior of the building is hidden from the street, only visible to occupiers of the neighbouring buildings. Due to the proximity of existing buildings, rights to light angles carved through the potential building volume. Following many iterations, the final response of cleverly folded planes clad in brass Tecu and punctured by panels of glazing emerged. The use of brass cladding suited the angular, faceted form whilst making subtle reference to the building’s industrial heritage.
Maximising natural light in and views out of all the six office floors was challenging on the tight site, further complicated by boundary and party wall matters. Generous lengths of curtain walling were set low to the floor, while strategically placed rooflights flood the floorplates with surprising levels of daylight. At ground level natural light levels are elevated by an atrium and rooflight, illuminating the otherwise windowless space. Throughout the office spaces floor to ceiling heights have been maximised to over 3m by locating services within a central bulkhead and leaving the concrete soffit exposed either side.
Stacked above the double height reception, the upper three floors at the front of the building accommodate meeting rooms, which look out over Tabernacle Street through large traditional sash and casement windows. Oak cladding, exposed brickwork and concrete soffits and dark floor tiles make up the material palette of these areas, a gentle contrast to the white walls and expansive glazing of the office floors.