A low energy workspace building in the heart of White City’s new Growth & Innovation Hub
Gateway West is one of three new buildings proposed by Stanhope for the Gateway Site in White City Place, completing a 6.8ha grouping of technology, media and education enterprises in the rapidly developing fin-tech and creative environment of the White City Opportunity Area.
The new additions will add a further 800,000 sq ft of accommodation to over 1m sq ft of office, laboratory and retail accommodation already in White City Place, following a masterplan set out by Allies and Morrison. The building sits on the former 1908 Olympic Great Stadium site which in the most recent past accommodated the former BBC Media Village.
Gateway West sits confidently among its larger neighbours to anchor the west side of the Gateway Site and was conceived of as a ‘rock’ with a sculpted presence, in contrast to the surrounding commercial buildings with expressed frame articulation. To this end its form is angled to respond to its context and the masonry cladding is designed to have a unifying appearance. The brick and ceramic exterior is solid and robust, the bricks selected for their varied colouring and slight irregularities in texture, and the variations in brick bonds adding to the tactile interest. The material and detailing form a deliberate contrast to the metal and glass cladding systems on buildings to either side.
The facades are modelled to respond to context and to the building’s use. A predominantly brick base with limited, flush windows conceals the large delivery bay and vehicular lifts that serve the adjacent Gateway Central. This heavy treatment gives way to a lighter expression on the upper, office floors, where brickwork piers are broken by deeply recessed windows and the more colourful, reflective surface of the ceramic cladding. The façades are articulated by contextual gestures that benefit the building both inside and out: A generous cantilever marks the entrance to the double-height reception and projecting fins highlight the more public ends of the building; A small terrace overlooks the crossroads from the top floor and a large, circular window addresses the long approach from White City station.
More compact than its neighbours and entered from a new, densely-planted garden, Gateway West is relatively informal and intimate. Extensive use of exposed concrete and oak gives warmth to the interior and a natural connection to the garden at the entrance. Outside, the building’s entrance is splayed back to create a wider, lighter approach to both the building and the garden. Planting is naturalistic in feel, with a dense, shade-loving woodland selection that includes climbing plants which rise up a feature wall of ‘wild bond’ brickwork. A biodiverse green roof mixing sedum and native wildflowers continues the naturalistic theme and will double biodiversity on the site.
The design has been planned to obtain a BREEAM Excellent rating and makes use of passive design principles to work towards a truly sustainable place of work. All materials will be robust and driven by ‘long life, loose fit principles’. Recycled materials have been promoted, embodied carbon has been reduced, and the facade openings optimised to balance daylighting, insulation and overheating. The resulting energy savings go well beyond those prescribed by Building Regulations. Increasing ventilation, automated doors, and flexible interiors setting have been key elements to make the office easily adaptable to accommodate health and safety post-pandemic.
- White City, London
- Project type
- Workplace and learning
- Floor area
- Jay Gort, Chris Neve, Jonathan Mann, Dominic Dudley, James Powell, Rohullah Kazemi
- Sir Robert McAlpine
- Allies and Morrison (masterplan architect), AKT II (structural engineer and facade consultant), SWECO (services and fire engineer), HED (landscape designer), Sandy Brown (acoustic engineer), IM2 (CDM consultant), Deloitte (quantity surveyor), Butler & Young (approved inspector), Gerald Eve (planning consultant), AVR (visualiser), Vectos (traffic consultant), LBHF (planning authority), GIA (daylight/sunlight assessor), AECOM (environmental impact assessor), Tavernor Consultancy (visual impact assessor).