For their latest project, British firm Emrys Architects had to find a better way to the utilize space within a pair of listed Georgian townhouses in London. The buildings serve as the flagship office for GMS Estates, which owns and manages a large number of properties in the city. Unafraid to be bold, the team added an extravagant folded copper roof to the buildings, giving them a distinctive presence and expanding the interior space.
The triangular sections of the new copper roof angle up and down to create varying ceiling heights inside the renovated structure, lining up with different parts of the old brick buildings. “We took the existing heights of key points around the perimeter and used this for inspiration for an unusual triangulated roof form,” said the architects.
Located on Great James Street in Bloomsbury, there is a distinct theme of apart yet connected throughout the building. Internal work spaces have been configured to allow departments to occupy clearly demised areas, yet still allow full connectivity between groups. This was achieved with the help of a new two-storey structure at the rear of the townhouses. “Our solution was to retain and enhance the grandeur of the terrace and to introduce an entirely new structure in the tight land-locked space to the rear to create a dramatic transition from old to the new,” explained the architects.
The terrace is one of the few remaining intact Georgian streets in London, which was patched up shortly after it suffered bomb and fire damage during the Second World War. This hurried repair work has since been transformed into an excellent example of how old and new can be combined to create something better than the sum of its parts. “Emrys Architects have taken unusable areas and created stunning new offices that have transformed our working day,” said Tom Gibbon, Managing Director of GMS Estates.