AHR applies innovative biophilic design principles at The Spine building
For the northern home of The Royal College of Physicians, AHR Architects was tasked with creating a building that leaves its occupants healthier.
Fathom’s sensitive retrofit in the Mayfair Conservation Area has added domestic and hospitality elements to give new life to a redundant building.
Addressing the changing nature of offices and playing on its residential heritage, Fathom established a welcoming and social ground level, with a first -floor grand boardroom and private workspaces on the upper levels. Identity is created with a balance of bold design elements and an interior palette which pays homage to Georgian hues of green and grey with rust accents.
Having sat empty for 20 years following an unsympathetic 1980s restoration, the retrofit introduces hospitality aspects with areas for relaxing, socialising and dining.
“The way people interact in offices has changed,” comments Rebecca Thomas, Director, Fathom Architects. “Our retrofit of 19 Queen Street creates a homely and characterful space to work – not just at desks but collaborating, socialising and having headspace to think.”
On arrival, the entrance hall showcases a playful monochrome patterned floor crafted from Mira and Statuarietto marble with brass trims, directing visitors into a warm and homely reception area with a feature fireplace, oversized oak parquet flooring and velvet and leather furniture.
Leading off the reception, a marble-topped tea point and integrated velvet banquette seating area – lined with textured Shantung Silk wallpaper – creates an inviting space for informal meetings, lunch or coffee breaks. The ground floor spaces are given character with a collection of curated objects celebrating modern craftsmanship, greenery and a series of artworks by contemporary London-based artist Sophie Coe.
Office layouts reference the historic sequence of rooms to define each level, articulated with custom timber and glass screens. Whilst many original features had been destroyed or removed over time, during construction a layer of ‘pugging’ boards was revealed when the suspended ceilings were removed. Fitted between the joists, these very rare features were the Georgian answer to sound insulation – usually then covered with a layer of plaster.
Throughout the building, modern services and high specification technology meets current workspace needs, with original features complemented by contemporary joinery and lighting. To the rear of the building, a new lightwell draws fresh air and daylight into the ground and basement levels to create an attractive courtyard garden, with two additional external terraces on the upper floors.
Photography: James Balston
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