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20 NO 1 NEW OXFORD STREET, LONDON


The significant use of black trims and horizontal features was inspired by the Art Moderne movement


by no means optimal, precipitating some structural challenges given the plans to extend the building upwards and expand usable floorspace inside. The removal of the 7th and 8th floor slabs and roof slab allowed for the construction of new steel floors, including an additional floor and new roof terrace.


The partial infill of the atrium was achieved with a new steel frame inserted into the courtyard, along with new reinforced concrete lift cores. The retained concrete beams and columns to the lower levels were strengthened using steel stiffening plates and angles. This required temporary propping throughout the lower floors and added further complexity to the construction.


In light of the added floors, the architects also had to develop a solution to sensitively make the extension look like an integral part of the building. McRae comments: “Part of what we did was tinting the whole facade from the first floor to the eighth, to make it look like an original composition.” In addition, new stonework was carefully added to complement the chromatic alterations. What became apparent as the architects studied the original marketing brochures of


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


the building was that the elevation facing New Oxford Street was designed to be more Art Deco inspired, while the High Holborn elevation seemed to draw influence from the Art Moderne aesthetic. In addition to these stylistic references specified in Lafontaine’s original designs, the architects uncovered proposals for hexagonal glazed green tiles to clad the building.


The tiles were not permitted by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the architect advising the Crown, who perceived them to be too innovative at the time. Breathing Lafontaine’s legacy back into the building, Orms reinstated the tile design using pyrolave tiles – volcanic stone extracted from a lake in France and hand glazed to produce the chosen emerald colour. Portland stone skirts the building’s ground floor level facade below the tinted brickwork cladding above, acting as a canvas for further bands of hexagonal emerald tiles decorating the facade towering over New Oxford Street.


Glasswork


As with any commercial office space, ensuring that interior spaces are sufficiently illuminated was key to the project. This is achieved in practice through the new glazed atrium, which allows natural light to fill the


ADF MAY 2019


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