Berners & Wells Spec Suites – London

  • Client Berners & Wells,
  • size 75,347 sqft
  • Year 2023
  • Location United Kingdom, London, England,
  • Industry Spec Suite,
  • Emrys Architects partnered with Berners & Wells to design a sophisticated mixed-use space in London, England.

    Emrys Architects have delivered a major mixed-use development in Fitzrovia, located north of Oxford Street in central London. Working on behalf of clients Berners-Allsopp Estate and Schroders, the bold design sits across two urban blocks and has created over 7,000 sqm of new futureproofed office and retail space, together with significant improvements to the public realm.

    The lower two floors feature flexible retail space to help activate the street, and user-oriented work accommodation is provided above.

    Berners and Wells has been designed to respond to the historic character of the local area with contemporary flair added through materiality and the articulation of the elevations. The lower portion is grounded by a series of seven two-storey arches clad in Portland stone with a teal glazed-brick detail, creating a grand entrance to the offices and retail units.

    The scheme involves a partial demolition alongside the retention of a fine Edwardian façade on Wells Street. Careful attention has been paid to ensure that massing and key elevational details pair well with the immediate context, especially the neighbouring Grade II* listed Sanderson Hotel.

    A colonnade of white faience columns with teal glazed brick detailing introduces elongated proportions that reference the surrounding buildings. At the upper levels, a lightweight glass and bronze envelope steps back from the main elevation to suit the adjoining townscape, and forms roof terraces set across the façade to provide spaces for informal meetings and breakout areas.

    The existing Edwardian façade on Wells Street sits well within the surrounding conservation area: its facade has therefore been retained, repaired, and extended to blend in seamlessly. The fourth floor is raised up in brickwork to match the existing detailing, while rebuilt chimneys act as bookends – unifying the whole facade and forming a visual break from neighbouring properties to the south. The overall approach to this façade’s elevational detailing works to soften any perceived impact to the adjacent Grade II listed pub. A new set-back fifth floor constructed in brick features decorated gables that align to the twinned bays below.

    Working with renowned British painter, printmaker, and Royal Academician Tess Jaray; Emrys commissioned Tess to complete the public art on the building. This included the striking pattern on the curve of the building and the roundels in the entrance way.

    Design: Emrys Architects
    Contractor: McLaren
    Project Manager: Blackburn & Co
    Photography: Alan Williams