Offices, affordable workspace and retail uses set within a new public realm
RIBA National Award winner 2021
RIBA London Regional Award winner 2021
Allford Hall Monaghan Morris for Viridis Real Estate Services
Contract value: £41m
Cost per m2: £3,481
The Ray is a bright, contemporary office building that fits effortlessly into its urban context, responding successfully to its location at the intersection of busy Farringdon Road and the much quieter and narrower Ray Street.
The primary Farringdon Road facade is exquisitely composed. Strong horizontal banding indicates the building’s interior organisation, and is balanced by vertical masonry panels incorporating many different brick bonds, colours and textures. This playful composition echoes the variety found in the neighbourhood and brings vitality to the long, formal elevation.
The building really comes to life in response to the intimate scale of Ray Street. Its massing is gently cut away to form a tumbling ziggurat with planted terraces – a delight from the street and a witty match for the exuberance of nearby buildings. At its base the architect has left a generous pocket of landscaped public space, echoing the green facade with trees and areas of planting. Beautifully and robustly furnished with stone paving, concrete benches and striking metal handrails, it shows admirable attention to detail.
The signature brickwork of the facades makes its way into the entrance and other parts of the well-detailed interior. A central core splits the building between workplace at the front and break-out spaces at the back that flow through to the planted terraces, providing easy access to external space and greenery at all levels. Like all great architecture, the interior corresponds directly to the exterior, where the natural connection to the public realm, access to greenery and a playful use of bricks all root the building in this characterful part of London.