The London Ark

Ralph Erskine, London, 1992


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View of the Ark from the Hammersmith flyover 

Rupert Truman     Download Original

  • View of the Ark from the Hammersmith flyover    
  • The Ark situated between railway and dual carriageway    
  • Entrance    
  • Detail of the ark showing innovative brickwork    
  • Internal atrium looking north    
  • View across atrium showing bridges across floors    
  • View up staircase showing combination of wood, glass and white render    
  • Top floor structure and glazed wall to atrium    
  • View from the crow    
  • Refitted interior    
  • Refitted interior    
  • Refitted interior view of drum    
  • Refitted interior view of atrium    
  • Site plan    
  • Basement floor plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Second floor plan    
  • Fourth floor plan    
  • Fifth floor plan    
  • Sixth floor plan    
  • Eighth floor plan    
  • Roof level plan    
  • Typical office floor plan    
  • Cross section    
  • Section    
  • Sectional drawing    
  • West elevation    
  • South elevation    
  • Development model    
  • Exploration sketch of how to bridge the gap created by the atrium    
  • Sketch of building as a boat    
  • Detail through glazing    
  • Section through cladding    

Office building on a cramped site hemmed in by a concrete overpass on one side and a railway cutting on another

The Ark, so called in reference to its hull-like profile, was designed by architect Ralph Erskine, originally designed for Swedish developers Ake Larson and Pronator.

The mass of the building is arranged around a central atrium and rejects an orthogonal grid in both plan and section. Design innovations include water used for cooling rather than air employing Scandinavian radiant panels in the ceilings.

The original building was refitted in 1996 by DN-A architects, stripping out the central “village” and connecting walkways which spanned the atrium and the floorplates.

A new double height atrium was created on the ground floor, and a new fifth and sixth floor were erected, while the seventh floor was extended as an open mezzanine. As a result net lettable floor space was increased by 30%, from 12,100m2 to 15,600m2. Each floor can be subdivided into two spaces and the open balustrading has been replaced with partially glazed partitions.


  • Begun: Sep 1989
  • Completed: Apr 1992
  • Floor area: 17,000m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £34M
  • Procurement: Ake Larson standard conditions of contract
  • Address: 201 Talgarth Road, Hammersmith, London, W6 9, United Kingdom

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