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Going Dutch: London’s second ‘cycle-in office’ champions the green commute

Coffey Architects’ sustainable retrofit in Broadgate supports ‘wellbeing by way of bike.’

13/03/2023

2 min read

Photography courtesy of Coffey Architects


10 Exchange Square is an ultra-sustainable refurbishment of a workplace in Broadgate, London, featuring expansive cycling facilities and refreshed lobby. With an estimated 93% embodied carbon saving versus the average industry benchmark for new buildings, and a 19% reduction of the original building’s carbon footprint, clever interventions and thoughtful material choice have driven an impactful transformation with a focus on environmental and user wellbeing.

In line with progressing environmental and health-conscious patterns, designers Coffey Architects created a unique cycle-in entrance to greet tenants at ground level. Previously an underused and drab approach off Appold Street, a new supersized neon cycling graphic boldly announces the building’s attention to ‘wellbeing by way of bike.’ Cyclists can now ride right inside and safely store their bikes in one of the 133 available spaces – storage was previously located in fume-filled underground carpark. A reinvigorated entrance to the east now includes a dramatic illuminated elliptical sign that, “in true retrofit fashion, does the most with the least,” comments  Director Phil Coffey.

Both street and cycle entry lead to a shared lobby. This space has been thoughtfully reimagined with a bespoke timber-clad pavilion, inserted into the existing glass structure so as to not increase the embodied carbon load with any structural demolition. Social seating, a 20 foot-long elliptical table with integral planting, a coffee offering and reception desk sit in front of a feature wall made of four kilometres of solid European oak timber from certified sustainable sources. Throughout the scheme, Coffey worked with sustainability experts Norman Disney & Young to champion local procurement, promote reusability and reduce embodied carbon, boasting an impressive sustainability credentials and an embodied carbon impact that is significantly smaller than RIBA’s embodied carbon target for new buildings.

London leads the world in establishing a commercial cycle hire scheme (with over 10 million Santander bike hires in 2022), and is investing over £900million in cycling routes across the capital – pointing to an optimistic future for cycling in the capital. 10 Exchange Square is an example of the role designers and architects can play in achieving the green and healthy city infrastructure our European cousins benefit from.

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