55 Leroy Street
A reuse and retrofit approach to support our collaborative and social studio culture
Sitting off an arterial high street in Bermondsey, our retrofit commercial scheme responds to the area’s historical industrial context and provides purpose-built creative workspace for our growing practice.
The original three-storey warehouse dates from the end of the 19th Century, constructed during the area’s industrial peak amongst leather tanneries, cloth, soap and food processing works. In recent years, the building retained its commercial use but fell into a state of disrepair. Following a reuse and retrofit approach in line with our agenda for sustainability and context-driven design, we chose to sensitively repair and optimise the existing building over demolition.
It feels as though the project has amplified the bones of the original building in a contemporary take.Rob Wilson, Architects’ Journal
Our approach has locked in value within the existing building, delivering high-quality workspace to a tight budget and programme. By demonstrating what can be done with otherwise overlooked existing buildings, this scheme challenges the common cycle of disrepair, demolition and redevelopment.
During strip out, we revealed the original brick under poor-quality black cladding; a discovery that informed a significant design change as we chose to celebrate its striking red colour. The original structure was restored where needed, and the ad hoc top floor volume was replaced and extended with matching brick to form a cohesive, bold building with street presence and a confident new identity. Internally, the original structure is highlighted through red accents set against a pared-back palette of white and bespoke birch plywood joinery.
The architecture now positively contributes to its immediate context and provides four floors of commercial office space – three of which are used by Gort Scott, with lettable space at ground floor. The open plan layout promotes a collaborative and social studio culture and ensures the building can be easily adapted for future working patterns. The dual-aspect spaces now receive light throughout the day and fantastic long-range views across the city. A glazed frontage at street level improves security through visible activity and passive surveillance.
- Gort Scott Team
- Jay Gort, Fiona Scott, Wai-Piu Wong, Joe Mac Mahon, Alex Surguladze, Paul Wild
- Appleyard & Trew (QS), engineersHRW (structures), OR Consulting (building services), Rights of Light Consulting (daylight and sunlight), Shore Engineering (approved inspector)
- David Grandorge Jim Stephenson
- Jim Stephenson