Gallery: London’s Locally-Sourced 55 Baker Street Refurb


Reminding us that there are many ways to approach sustainable architecture, the original 1950s Mark & Spencer’s headquarters has recently been renovated using all local materials, by British design firm Make. Much of the design within the 55 Baker Street building has been made by local British designers, such as the foyer interior by furniture maker Davison Highley, lifts by Elan, and toilet roll holders by the London-based-ironmonger izé. We’re all for making the old fresh again using local talent and ingenuity.

Just like eating locally reduces food miles, sourcing materials locally reduces building miles, reducing CO2 emitted in travel and shipping. It’s also made it easier for the architects to work with the bespoke designers they ordered furniture off. “If they had sent their drawings to the Far East, they wouldn’t have got the nuances of the detail that we were able to produce,” says sales director, Tim Armitt.

Instead of demolishing the existing building, architecture firm Make decided to leave most of the building in place and only refurbish the interior, saving energy and materials. 50% of the existing building fabric remains. The foyer’s 12 columns were replaced with a sculptural tree-like structure made by Watts in Bolton. It’s on castors, allowing it to be moved through the building.

Over the years, M&S added more and more non-structural elements to the interior, creating a veritable warren. Make stripped all of these away, fitting out the existing concrete infrastructure with a seven-storey atrium to be lit by programmable LEDs, designed by Jason Bruges studio in Shoreditch to be controlled by a host of guest artists. The building also makes use of bespoke chilled beams with holes which can be controlled individually to maximise energy efficiency and reduce running costs and carbon emissions.

The 93,000 square meter space has been awarded a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating. It’s located between Marylebone and Oxford Street at 55 Baker Street should you want to take a peek when you’re in the area. (From Building)

+ 55 Baker Street
+ Make Architecture


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  1. wystan1000 March 25, 2008 at 10:17 am

    For a longer version of this story, including an interview with the project architect and local suppliers, visit While you are there, you can sign up to our Sustainability newsletter.

    Michael Willoughby,
    Sustainability Reporter
    Building (mwilloughby(at)cmpi(dot)biz

  2. March 23, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Sasaia, you are right about “greenovation” after all we have a whole range of energy inefficient, unhealthy homes in this country. Problem though is a relatively high cost of upgrading something to a new greener standard. Unfortunately often it is cheaper to start over rather than waste money on something beyond manageable repair.

  3. samsonoio March 22, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Hi –

    Just wanted to let you know that you’ve got the wrong architecture firm linked. I think this is the link you want:

    Thanks for the great posts! Been following this blog for about four years. Appreciate the architecture links especially.

  4. samsonoio March 22, 2008 at 11:33 am

    Hi –

    Just wanted to let you kow I think you have the wrong architecture firm linked to tihs post. I think this must be the firm who worked on the project:


  5. sasaia March 21, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Nice to se a “Greenovation” project. So much of what we see in the “Green” media are new buildings, which add to the carbon footprint and are easier to design & build green. The real challenge ahead is to “Greenovate” the millions of existing buildings around us now.

  6. hugo March 21, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Very sweet design with quite a nice philosophy. I believe it is important to support the environment, also commercially. By sourcing locally you help your own commercial interests AND contribute towards a stable environment for future generations.

    Anyway, the tree-like construction that replaces the 12 structural columns is on castors? So if you need a bit more support on a different level, you can just roll the construction in place? Hmmm….

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