White Collar Factory

The Brief

This significant site on the iconic ‘silicon roundabout’ in the heart of London’s Tech City on Old Street consists of 6 buildings the centre piece of which is the 16 storey White Collar Factory building with its triple basement and beautiful new public square.

Derwent London had recognised that their refurbished Victorian workspaces were often better received by tenants when compared to their new build offer, and that people want to work in environments that actively facilitate wellbeing and health. They therefore wanted to develop a new design ethos for their developments, one that better reflected the changing ways in which people work and that creates a campus feel to the development. The result was a new build “warehouse” concept with generous floor to ceiling heights, large structural grid, exposed services, concrete core cooling and spaces that were simple to personalise, configure and re-configure.

Client

Derwent London

Location

London EC1

Architect

AHMM

Size

240,000 ft²

Sector

  • Office - New Build Space

Services

  • Project Management
  • Health & Safety (CDM)

The Challenge

We and the design team looked at how flexibility for tenants could be maximised and material use could be minimised, warehouse type internal volumes created and servicing of the building re-invented. This leaner, greener approach to office space targeted a 25% reduction of energy in use. This was achieved by reducing the reliance of mechanical cooling equipment and incorporating fundamental building features such as exposed concrete, large volume spaces and opening windows.

The volume, mass and height of the main tower all proved to be difficult to agree with the planning authority and required detailed interaction with LBI, CABE and the GLA. Agreement of the standard of energy efficiency for the buildings was also a challenge particularly on the retained and refurbished buildings. The proximity of Network Rail and LUL assets made the successful execution of the substructure works critical to the project programme.

The Outcome

The process took 9 years from initial idea to completion, and included a £1m mock up to test the proposal, design and servicing strategy. Anything deemed unnecessary was stripped away; the structure was used as the finish and the thermal mass of the buildings concrete structure used to absorb heat and reduce cooling load. Natural ventilation also enabled the building to adapt to future uses and likely future climate.

Once the project was completed Jackson Coles successfully undertook the complex tenant liaison role.

White Collar Factory was the first project in the UK to secure Wired Certified Platinum status. The building has received 8 awards from BCO, RIBA, Civic Trust, MIPIM UK and the NLA for its design, innovation, vision and promotion of wellbeing.

In 2023, White Collar Factory won the BCO “Test of Time” for continuing to be a beacon of innovation and an exemplar standard for the future workplace today.

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Reduction of energy in use
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“This is a very brave project that set new standards in the office market creating the next generation flexible office for the future worker. Just its very presence was judged instrumental in re-defining an area of London as a business location.”
British Council for Offices
2023

Other Projects We’ve Completed Include

80 Grosvenor Street

15 Bishopsgate

Kennington Park