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Bradbury Works, Hackney

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

[Y/N] Studio clothes Victorian terrace in polycarbonate carapace to create more workspace at community-focused Gillett Square – and wins a 2024 RIBA London Award

Bradbury Works. French and Tye
Bradbury Works. French and Tye

2024 RIBA London Award

Bradbury Works, Hackney
[Y/N] Studio for Hackney Co-operative Developments
Contract value: £3.1m
GIA: 1578m2
Cost per m2: £1,965

A Victorian terrace has been creatively enlarged and re-skinned to provide further affordable workspace overlooking Gillett Square, a community-focused public plaza in Dalston. Working within tight budgetary constraints, the architect adopted a number of design and constructional moves that taken singly are logical, but which, taken together, elevate the project’s social potential. The result is a place of real interaction between the tenants and further engagement with the public. The existing three-storey terrace has been extended both horizontally and vertically, and clad in a polycarbonate carapace. A new double-height external terrace not only gives access to the units but faces the square, providing opportunities for tenants to meet and enjoy the activity there. Above, a new pitched roof creates bigger units with mezzanines neatly inserted below the ridge line. At ground floor, small pods open out to address the square fully.

  • Bradbury Works. French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. French and Tye
1234

Hackney Co-operative Developments works with local communities to create a sustainable environment in which they may flourish. Before Bradbury Works came into being, HCD had already led on bringing life to Gillett Square through the imaginative programming of cultural and community events. The development of Bradbury Works builds on that initial move, refurbishing 600m2 of affordable workspace, extending it by almost 500m2, and creating ten, 10m2 mini-retail units at ground floor.

The diagram for this increase in size is simple but well thought through. Additional space is created in the form of an external terrace facing the square and lined with picnic tables, ferns and climbers, which provides a new social space for tenants. A new floor and mezzanine are created on top of the building, with a pitched roof designed to provide the maximum floor area while minimising views from Bradbury Street in the conservation area. The mezzanine also balances the external terrace space which could have been enclosed. The extension uses a prefabricated steel frame aligned with the party walls to minimise loads and disruption. The exposed timber structure in the new roof expresses the extension’s light, airy quality, further amplified by the chequerboard pattern of north-facing rooflights. Non-loadbearing partitions allow the space to be opened up, which some tenants have already taken advantage of.

In terms of embodied carbon, the most sustainable building is the one that already exists. This building’s fabric was however improved in a number of ways: single glazing replaced with double, and insulated plasterboard added to the existing masonry, with vapour control layers also added. Natural ventilation, electric heating and hot water, low-energy LED lighting and provision for photovoltaic cells complete an approach where there is now a significant reduction in energy use since refurbishment.

  • Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
  • Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
    Bradbury Works. Credit: French and Tye
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What the jury liked about this project was both its modesty and its ambition. Using simple materials and methods, an existing building has been judiciously expanded and improved. But the use of the polycarbonate skin – a relatively basic building material – as a way of unifying what could have been an awkward extension, lifts the whole project.

See the rest of the RIBA London winners hereAnd all the RIBA Regional Awards here.

To see the whole RIBA Awards process visit architecture.com.

RIBA Regional Awards 2024 sponsored by EH Smith and Autodesk

Credits

Contractor Vortex
Structural engineer Engenuiti
Environmental/M&E engineer Thornley & Lumb
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Beacon Surveying Services
Project manager Helios Management
Planning consultant JMS Planning

 

Credit: [Y/N] Studio
Credit: [Y/N] Studio
Credit: [Y/N] Studio
Credit: [Y/N] Studio
Credit: [Y/N] Studio
Credit: [Y/N] Studio

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