London, United Kingdom
Square Footage: 70,450
Winner, Refurbished/Recycled Workplace London (Inside M25), 2008
Winner, Excellence in Architectural Design, 2008
Winner, Excellence, 2008
Urban Land Institute
Winner, Refurbished Office Buildings, 2008
Set on the north bank of the Thames, this imposing centre with its proximity to St Paul's Cathedral was hailed as the 'wonder building of modern commerce' when commissioned in the 1920s. However, by the turn of the century it was looking tired and drab. Unilever rejected relocation in favour of maintaining the unique heritage to house some of the best brands in the world.
Perkins+Will formed part of the team that was asked to breathe new life into the stunning, yet under-performing space and bring back the original spirit of openness while delivering the most sustainable development possible.
Irreplaceable historic façades were retained and the interior was remodelled to create internal visibility, recover organisational legibility to the floor space, improve light, and encourage the public back into the building.
New windows in the preserved façades provide stunning views of the Thames for staff and visitors from breakout areas and meeting rooms. A unique walkway and platform system dubbed 'flying carpets' is suspended within the atrium for easy circulation between floors.
We acted as interior architects and space planners for Unilever’s office areas on levels 5-7. The workspace is arranged as a series of layers, the atrium is surrounded by a ‘boulevard’ for staff circulation allowing views and visible movement. The primary open plan workspace is located at the building perimeter; a loop of informal meeting and team spaces sit between the two featuring large changeable branding walls and colourful light fittings. The branding walls offer an opportunity for an ever-changing display of Unilever’s uplifting imagery. The 1920’s interior panelling was refurbished to clad the new boardroom and business lounge. We worked alongside KPF who were responsible for the shell and core refurbishment.
The renovated building provides an inspiring and invigorating workplace that can be shared with visitors and the public.