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Workstack

Pioneering high density industrial space for compact sites

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Client: Greenwich Enterprise Board
Status: Ongoing
Location: Greenwich
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Type/Sector: Workplace
Tagged: Collaboration, Engineered Timber, Sustainability Exemplars

Collaborators

Structural Engineer Arup
Fire Engineer Arup
MEP and Civil Webb Yates
BREEAM ME Design
Contractor F. Parkinson

A response to the growing need for high quality workspace and industrial space on compact sites. By stacking the units over five floors, the footprint of the building is significantly reduced without loss of lettable area.

Collaborators

Structural Engineer Arup
Fire Engineer Arup
MEP and Civil Webb Yates
BREEAM ME Design
Contractor F. Parkinson
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Concept model showing the stacking principle
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Interior view of upper level studio
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Initial concept sketch of a stack of logs
01 A new model for urban industrial space

The project is backed by the GLA as an exemplar for industrial intensification

The architectural quality and the massing of the proposal make it a credible model for light industrial uses next to residential developments, potentially in dense urban conditions.

02 A progressive client

By collaborating with GEB, we designed 14 workspaces that move beyond the sprawling ‘tin shed’ approach to industrial space

Greenwich Enterprise Board (GEB) develop and let progressive workspaces in Greenwich. As a not-for-profit organisation, they offer places for small businesses to grow, encouraging diversity within the borough’s urban centre and reversing the loss of workshops to the periphery. GEB invited us to design a building to house a mixture of light industrial, creative and office uses on a compact site of 1,426m2. It was important that the building play to its visibility but also respond to its context, situated on an arterial route on the border of an established industrial zone and residential area.

The building is organised in a simple and functional manner, with three units per floor, forming three structural bays. These are stacked over five floors, minimising the footprint of the building. Two lifts provide the primary access to the upper floors for goods and personnel whilst an external stair is located to the outside of the eastern façade.

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Building section
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Lower level studios
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Concept model
03 Innovative and sustainable design

Workstack will be constructed in cross-laminated timber, a highly sustainable and fast construction method that uses engineered timber as shear walls and slabs.

Due to its inherent structural properties, each unit is able to progressively cantilever 1.7m at each floor. This creates a corbelled effect to the west façade, providing shading and limiting solar gain to the lower units. The scheme will provide a base for 14 businesses and offer employment for around 60 people, but it is intended that future developments could accommodate more.

We collaborated closely with Arup to develop the innovative structural design required to achieve the impressive and striking cantilevered form. We also collaborated with ME Design Consultancy to achieve the client’s requirements for a minimal servicing strategy so the budget could be focused on areas that were deemed more effective. A BREEAM rating of Very Good has been targeted. Regular discussions with the planning department of Royal Borough of Greenwich have ensured that the project fits into the Area Development Framework and Local Plan.

04 A social landlord

The most important collaboration has been with the Greenwich Enterprise Board, the client and eventual landlord.

As a social enterprise who have been working within the borough for over twenty years, they provided detailed knowledge of tenant and management requirements that were continually fed into the design process.

We believe there will be ample scope to copy this building’s methodology to other sites while raising the bar on industrial design in a way that will be of national significance. This new typology has the ability to counter fast-growing residential monoculture and is intended to act as a blueprint for future workspace developments in urban contexts.

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