img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

The Department Store Studios, Brixton, Lambeth

Words:
Regional Awards Jury

Squire & Partners wins a 2024 RIBA London Award for its workspace for businesses with shared social facilities and café, which extends the practice’s commitment to its HQ area of Brixton

The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse

2024 RIBA London Award

The Department Store Studios, Brixton, Lambeth
Squire & Partners for Squire & Partners

Contract value: Confidential
GIA: 2,349m2

The Department Store Studios is a new, four-storey workspace building in Brixton, designed to house growing and startup businesses in flexible, affordable studios with shared social facilities and a café. The project is a rare example of the architect acting as not only client/developer, but also contractor through a management contract. Standing adjacent to the architect’s headquarters in its award-winning transformation of a former department store built in 1906, it has enabled the practice to further its commitment to its locality. Sitting in a highly urban context, the design takes its cues from its Edwardian neighbour but uses a contemporary idiom. What stand out are its offer to the community, its generous and well-detailed interiors and its intelligent response to its parent building – which is respectful without feeling subservient or relying on pastiche. Occupying the site of a single-storey 1950s annexe to the main department store, this thoughtfully designed building complements the architect’s adjacent Department Store premises.

  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
1234

Externally, it pays homage to its parent building through the predominant use of red brick and windows that can be opened. However, the traditional Flemish bond brickwork pattern of the ground floor is inverted above by using protruding snapped bricks for the headers, providing a contrasting texture to the façades. The elevations and massing are further enlivened through kinks in the plan form, following the historical plot line and skilfully resolving this corner site.

Behind, a mature oak tree in a small courtyard acts as a focal point, visible up to the top floors of both the original Department Store building and the Department Store Studios. This courtyard, and the generous provision of communal spaces facing it, gives the building a grounding in its surroundings.

Internally, extensive use is made of self-finished materials: exposed brick and blockwork, concrete floors and, unifying the interiors, a generous cross laminated timber (CLT) staircase. The CLT superstructure is predominantly exposed, stripping back any excessive materials. The quality and robustness of the detailing and the flexibility of uses and plan form enable this building to adapt over time. The interiors are softened by bespoke artwork and furnishings which complement the architecture and express the honesty of materials and detailing that characterises the scheme. Translucence is ever present in the building, breaking down the perception of interior and exterior. Windows looking out across the skyline of Brixton also give incidental views to the courtyard oak tree, shared roof terraces and green roofs.

  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
  • The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
    The Department Store Studios. Jack Hobhouse
12345

Current occupants of the building include Brixton-focused organisations and businesses tempted away from traditional central London. The jury was unanimous in recognising the quality of the concept, design and execution, as well as the exemplary way the initiative serves the community – a well-run long-term investment that can inspire architects with ambitions to develop their own projects.

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 Squire & Partners
Structural engineer Elliott Wood
Environmental/M&E engineer DSA Engineering
Quantity surveyor/cost consultant Core 5

 

Credit: Squire & Partners
Credit: Squire & Partners
Credit: Squire & Partners
Credit: Squire & Partners
Credit: Squire & Partners

Latest articles

Webinar: Architecture for Housing and Residential Development

  1. Products

Architecture for Housing and Residential Development webinar

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

  1. Products

Webinar: Addressing Onsite Safety using Fall Protection Systems

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024

  1. Products

PiP Design for Sustainability Webinar 2024