London-based architecture firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has upped-sticks from its Hammersmith HQ, creating new offices in one of its own famed structures: the Leadenhall Building.
Since its conception 30 years ago, the firm has grown from a small partnership into a 200-strong architectural powerhouse, and it needed a space to match. The practice wanted somewhere that could comfortably accommodate all of its employees on one floor, to promote communication and collaborative working. The Leadenhall Building (which was completed in July 2014) provided just such an opportunity. And where better to set up camp than a building that already has the renowned RSHP stamp of approval?
Maurice Brennan, project architect and RSHP associate explains, 'When we started the design of RSHP’s Level 14 fit-out we already knew the building inside-out. We had written the original Leadenhall Building occupier fit-out guide, but we were now being encouraged by our client turned landlord to tear it up and come at it afresh.'
And fresh is right. The turf-green carpet creates a vibrant base for the uninterrupted, light-filled 1,100 sq m studio space. Brennan adds, 'We dispensed with ceilings and gained an extra metre in height to give a floor to soffit height of 3.7m.' In doing so, Leadenhall's intricate skeleton is unveiled, piqued by a specially adapted gridwork of LED lights. Developed by Arup in collaboration with Speirs + Major, they subtly shift in colour throughout the day, from cool to warm, to mimic the natural deviations in daylight.
Every decision has been made with the staff, colleagues and clients in mind, which goes hand-in-hand with the user-focused Leadenhall philosophy. RHSP have complete control of the air quality, thanks to the compartmentalised, floor-by-floor air conditioning system.
Despite the speedy 16-week turn-around time, senior partner Andrew Morris explains how finding the perfect new home for the firm wasn't easy. The partners looked around a number of different locations, from Soho and Brick Lane to places well outside of their beloved London, 'but the opportunity of moving to one of our own buildings was irresistible – and the best commercial offer. Our studio now embraces our collective atmosphere, and clients can experience first hand our architecture and how we use it.'