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Can we create modern office spaces in historic structures, whilst keeping the character of the space?

Location:        Shoreditch
Status:            Construction

Client:             CIT
Architect:    Horden Cherry Lee Architects

Structural Design Brief

Refurbishment and extension of a historic stable to create workspace and light industrial uses.

Delivery of a new core block, rooftop extension and courtyard infill using low tech, low carbon solutions.

Justification of an existing cast iron frame from the 1890’s with no additional fire protection requirements.


This historic stable block used to house the horses for the Whitbread Brewery, delivering beer around London. As such it has both history and character that it was essential to keep- both due to the buildings listed status but also to delivery work space with character and identity. Reviewing the existing structure we found it to be a cost iron frame with a concrete arch floor typically. Unusually the beam spanned over the columns allowing us to analyse what would happen if a column failed during a fire and show that the structure would retain its integrity.

The robust frame was shown to have capacity for an additional floor, developed as a light weight steel and timber structure to minimise the embodied carbon and weight. A new courtyard infill structure has also been developed as a similar light weight solution, enabling the new foundations to be helical screw piles, reducing the carbon impact further. A new core block in the corner of the courtyard enables the vertical circulation for the development, linked with the retained horse ramp which integrates flexible break out space in the scheme through the retention of this part of its heritage.

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