160 Old Street

The Brief

The former Royal Mail building, built in the 1970s on the site of the London Bovril factory, sits on the fringe of the City and close to the growing tech hub around the Old Street roundabout. The Client wanted to create a new flagship commercial building with new retail space along the Old Street frontage. A key driver was to re-use the existing structural frame whilst adding space in multiple locations around the site.

The existing building was stripped back to the concrete frame, with the internal space fully refurbished across all floors, the existing basement car park reconfigured to support commercial use, 2 new storeys added, 4 ground floor retail units and a new entrance created through the construction of single story entrance pavilion. This new entrance pavilion now connects the two original, but previously separated, lift cores with a direct internal link into the corner retail unit. New steel frame extensions on the facades gained additional net lettable area, whilst the reconfigured basement car park and lightwell extensions at this level created a series of dramatic double height subterranean spaces.

Client

Great Portland Estates

Location

London EC1

Architect

ORMS

Size

166,000 ft²

Sector

  • Office - Remodelling & Refurbishment

Services

  • Project Management
  • Health & Safety (CDM)

The Challenge

The project had a number of challenges primarily the condition of the existing structure, the previous uses of the site, it had previously been a Bovril factory and the complexity of the subterranean basement car park levels.

Early in the programme we advised the client to commission extensive site survey works in order to uncover as much information as possible about the structure both above and below ground, in particular potential unknown underground structures and groundworks from previous buildings on the site. Following the survey work further de-risking of the main contract works was undertaken by carrying out early excavations and piling work as part of a separate demolition works contract, which was then novated into the main contract. Whilst this action helped mitigate the risk in the ground unidentified obstructions and asbestos were discovered in the ground. Our PM team worked closely with both the demolition and main contractors to manage the risk of these issues and reduce the cost and programme effects.

The Outcome

The completed project has re-invented and re-positioned the building, with the new white glazed brick cladding dramatically altering the property’s appearance. The new retail units along the Old Street frontage have created 6,780 ft² of vibrant retail and restaurant accommodation and the total lettable space increased from 96,500 ft² to 157,200 ft².

A large proportion of the building was successfully pre-let to a multi-national media Client. 160 Old Street received two BCO Awards – for best London ‘Refurbished / Recycled Workplace’ and for ‘Innovation’, and was described as a “masterpiece of smart technology”.

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Other Projects We’ve Completed Include

The Gilbert & One Lackington

Michael Faraday House

New Hibernia House