Architect Allford Hall Monaghan Morris unveils Derwent London’s White Collar Factory: a game-changer in sustainable, interactive workplace design

Marks the official launch of White Collar Factory, a pioneering, adaptable, long-life development overlooking Silicon Roundabout in Old Street, London.

September 5, 2017 - The low cost, low energy and low carbon campus development offers an innovative user-focused design approach that could become a blueprint for future workplace design. It is the latest iteration of a long-term research initiative between Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) and Derwent London, which has also produced projects including the Tea Building and Stirling Prize-shortlisted Angel Building.

White Collar Factory © Rob Parrish/ Matt Chisnall

White Collar Factory is a complex of six buildings at Old Street Yard, which includes offices, studios, incubator space, restaurants and apartments, set around a new area of public realm, with a sixteen-storey tower topped by a 150m rooftop running track. Together, these 27,200 sqm buildings provide a bold new marker for Old Street as well as creating a new, more permeable section of the city that references the alleys and passageways of the historic urban grain.

The mixed-use development is the culmination of an eight-year research project led by AHMM director Simon Allford and Simon Silver and Paul Williams, directors of developer Derwent London, working in collaboration with engineering firms AKT II and Arup. This research analysed why 19th century warehouses and factory buildings have enjoyed such longevity, and how these structures could inform and inspire a sustainable development. 

AHMM drew inspiration for the new build tower from the work of French designer Jean Prouvé, whose design ethos was led by logic, balance and purity. Designed to achieve more with less, the pragmatic, hard-working design of the tower is guided by the principles that nothing needs to be added, nothing can be taken away, and every element performs one or more function. 

 White Collar Factory © Tim Soar

Conceived to withstand the likely impacts of climate change, White Collar Factory maximises passive systems with the radiant concrete slab providing heating and cooling via a bespoke ‘Concrete Core Cooling’ system. Glazing varies in response to the orientation of the tower with most to the north, less to the east and west, and least to the south. Openable windows enable 70% natural ventilation of the floor plate, allowing the user to be in full control of their own environment. A two-level cycle hub encourages sustainable travel with space for nearly 300 bikes in the basement. The development is rated EPC A, BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum.

The project was between 15-20% cheaper to build than the equivalent standard building and through the intelligent use of passive servicing is also expected to provide a 10-33% reduction in operational energy costs per annum (dependent on tenant fit-out approach) and 25% reduction in operational carbon emissions over a typical office building.

Simon Allford, Director, AHMM says

“White Collar Factory is the product of over twenty years of collaboration with Derwent London. What began as research project into the design of an idealised 21st century office building evolved over time into a suite of six buildings of light, volume and character, gathered around a new public space, Old Street Yard. Each of the six, through their generosity, elegantly and economically accommodate the programmes of today, those we anticipate in the future and those we cannot yet imagine.”

Simon Silver, Director, Derwent London says

“We are delighted to launch White Collar Factory – our most progressive project to date. It is the culmination of years of thought, research, design development and collaboration with our design team to produce a new type of sustainable workplace for London. Now 87% pre-let with most of the remaining space under offer, it is proof of London‘s demand for innovation.” 

Key White Collar Factory tenants include The Office Group, Adobe and Capital One and a number of new restaurants concepts will be opening at White Collar Factory from late 2017.
White Collar Factory is the latest in a long series of collaborations between AHMM and Derwent London, including the Angel Building in Islington, the Tea Building in Shoreditch, Morelands in Clerkenwell, and the Johnson Building in Hatton Garden.

About Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Established in 1989 with offices in London, Bristol and Oklahoma City, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris makes buildings that are satisfying and enjoyable to use, beautiful to look at and easy to understand.

Winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize and recipient of many other awards for architecture and design, the practice has received public and media acclaim for its work across sectors. AHMM is known for its reinvention of buildings and places including the Angel and Tea Buildings, Television Centre, the Barbican, New Scotland Yard, as well as key new commercial, residential and education developments in London, around the UK and internationally such as The University of Amsterdam. @ahmmarchitects

About Derwent London plc

Derwent London plc owns a 5.6m sq ft portfolio of commercial real estate predominantly in central London valued at £4.8 billion as at 31 December 2016, making it the largest London-focused real estate investment trust (REIT). It typically acquires central London properties off-market with low capital values and modest rents in improving locations, most of which are either in the West End or the Tech Belt.  It capitalises on the unique qualities of each of our properties – taking a fresh approach to the regeneration of every building with a focus on anticipating tenant requirements and an emphasis on design. In 2017 so far, the Group has won the Property Week Developer of the Year award, a Civic Trust award for its Turnmill building, and is listed 12th in the Corporate Knights Global 100 of the world’s most sustainable companies. @derwentlondon

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