Text description provided by the architects. The building regenerates this historically important quarter of the town, whilst respecting the scale and grain of its neighbors and preserving cherished longer views across the town’s skyline. It never the less reflects the best of contemporary, sustainable office design.
A new public space, Angel Square, creates an appropriate setting for the building entrance and forms part of a potential new sequence of public spaces linking All Saints Church to St John’s Church and its gardens. From the entrance staff and visitors arrive into a 4-storey reception and street which leads to a courtyard in the center of the plan. Stairs and lifts are located on either side and informal meeting, working and other collaborative spaces are grouped around it creating a social hub for the building.
The building is designed as two blocks which enclose the courtyard. A second street extends to the south, filling the building with natural light and creating a visual connection with St John’s Church. The change in level across the site is taken up by an undercroft area which accommodates car parking, cycle storage, and on the St John Street façade, office space which could potentially convert to retail use. The natural light, visual connectivity between the floors and courtyard help to create a building that allows both staff and visitors to experience a sense of wellbeing and encourage collaboration.
The predominantly glazed facades are clad with vertical copper fins. These control solar gain, create a color and texture when viewed from acute angles down the narrow streets, and connect the building to the distinctive urban fabric of the area. The patterning of the louvers is inspired by the local traditional leather cutting lines for hand-made shoes. Best practice passive design strategies combined with innovative approaches have delivered exemplary levels of user comfort and well being, whilst reducing operational energy costs and carbon emissions.