245 Hammersmith Road Completes

25th October 2019

Sheppard Robson, with its interior design group ID:SR, has completed a new building at 245 Hammersmith Road (formerly Bechtel House) on behalf of clients Legal & General and Mitsubishi Estate, creating a prominent architectural addition and sequence of new public spaces in the area’s Business Improvement District. The largest single office building to be built in Hammersmith for more than 20 years, the scheme provides 22,500m2 of flexible office space and 970m2 of retail space.

Rather than a single structure like the former Bechtel House, Sheppard Robson’s design reduces the mass of the development by forming the new building from two parallel wings that are connected by a central core, generating a large single 27,000ft2 floorplate which allows flexibility to accommodate different configurations and tenants. The reconfiguration of the development’s plan also allows the building to be stepped back from Hammersmith Road, creating opportunities for vibrant civic spaces to be integrated throughout.

A new landscaped piazza at the front of the development forms an inviting entrance leading into ground-floor retail and reception areas. The building features a grand arch with a striking landscaped staircase and funicular lift, which connects the high street and piazza to a rear podium park, mediating an eight-meter change of level. This connecting passage, as well as a new access point from the podium park to the adjacent street, contributes to the open and accessible nature of the ground level, rooting the development within its civic setting and bringing an underused public space back to life.

Open and green spaces weave throughout the building, offering a constant visual connection to its many natural design features, including the landscaped piazza, podium park and roof terraces. The ground-floor reception is integrated with the public piazza, allowing the exterior green elements to feed into the building’s interior.

The external envelope of the building is characterised by the use of red angled anodised aluminium window surrounds, which have been specified to create a dialogue with the architectural language of the adjacent Conservation Area where terracotta brick is commonplace. Made with organic red dye, the angled aluminium panels are tailored to their orientation, minimising solar gain and providing dynamic elevations which respond to the changing levels of light during the day.

The interior concepts by ID:SR have been designed with the development’s civic setting in mind. The ground floor functions as an extension of the public piazza, evoking a generous civic hall, while featuring a variety of more intimate settings to promote collaborative working. The interior draws on the English tradition of Arts and Crafts fused with industrial heritage, reflecting the history of the Hammersmith neighbourhood. The use of raw materials—as featured in the open-grid metal ceilings and lighting details—melds with hand-crafted furniture to create an atmosphere that is at once familial and industrial.

The arrival point of the reception is marked by an artwork installation that is integrated within the fabric of the building. Designed by Sheppard Robson architect and artist Patricia de Isidoro, the installation, titled Three thousand Threads, is an homage to all the hands involved in the crafting of the building. The work features golden threads suspended between the recessed walls of the reception as a three-dimensional tapestry, welcoming viewers into the space and inviting them to reflect on the making of the building.

Lee Bennet, Partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “A dour 70’s block once stood here, behind it, a barren windswept podium hidden from Hammersmith. The new building creates super-flexible floorspace wrapped in a bold and environmentally responsive, angular red façade that continually and delightfully changes tone, rewarding the gaze from multiple vantage points, including Hammersmith Road, the newly created arrival square, and the revived, elevated podium park.

Mark Kowal, Partner at Sheppard Robson, said: “This project was as much about place making as creating an office building. It seeks to address wellbeing at its heart by providing spaces and amenity that each tenant can build on to align with their own occupation strategies. The sequence of external spaces and office reception help to blur the boundaries between public and private, stitching the building into its local neighbourhood.”

Simon Wilkes, Head of Business Space Development at Legal & General Property, said: “245 Hammersmith Road is much more than just an office building; we have created a destination with modern working and lifestyle trends at the core of our thinking. It sets a new standard for Hammersmith. A standout destination and re-imagined workplace, this flexible and collaborative space is built to inspire and provide the quality and style of workplace modern occupiers are demanding.

Yuichiro Shioda, Managing Director & CEO of Mitsubishi Estate London Limited, said: “It is always gratifying to deliver a finished new building and, in 245 Hammersmith Road, we have created something that makes a positive contribution to both the local occupier market and the local community.”

Patricia de Isidoro, Associate Partner at Sheppard Robson and Artist said: 245 Hammersmith Road has been a unique collaborative design exercise across all scales and aspects of the development—from the wider urban context, to the building itself, and down to the artwork within. This wholly interconnected and creative process has manifested in a welcoming and communal space, and in a building of an open nature.