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46


POPLAR, LONDON BUILDING


PROJECTS REPUBLIC Vive la Republic


Export Building, the latest phase of Republic, a wide-ranging offices development in east London, is a refurbishment that fuses engineered timber and a revitalised public realm with a progressive tenancy initiative to create a new destination in Docklands. Sébastien Reed speaks to project architect Thidaa Roberts about the scheme


“I


t’s right next to East India DLR station. There’s no way you’d accidentally find yourself there; you have to have the


intention.” So says RHE Studio’s Thidaa Roberts, painting a picture of the users’ journey to the Docklands site where her firm’s new office building now sits as part of the Republic masterplan. “You get off the DLR, then you go over a pedestrian walkway crossing a motorway below.” She continues: “After that, you have to go down two and a half flights of steps and you’re there. It’s the first building you see.” Studio RHE was called to work on Republic after completing ‘London’s first cycle-in office’, the Alphabeta Building, at 18 Finsbury Square near Old Street for developer Resolution. Garnering numerous awards for the practice, generating significant profit upon resale, and, in Roberts’ words, putting RHE “on the map for refurbished workspaces,” Alphabeta functioned as a sturdy precursor and hallmark of trust for a solid working relationship between the architects and Trilogy Real Estate, an offshoot of Alphabeta’s developer Resolution. When quizzed on the brief, it’s revealed that RHE’s previous successes provided fertile grounds upon which they could explore new avenues and creative ideas: “The client trusts us, so they don’t really give us a brief aside from cues like ‘more net internal area,’ and ‘we want more people to use to this space,” explains Roberts. “We had lots of freedom, we’d simply suggest something and discuss it.” This freedom granted to the architects was a welcome offering, particularly


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF OCTOBER 2019


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