Office for Paul McAneary Architects

Paul McAneary Architects, London, 2016


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Office Exterior 

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  • Office Exterior    
  • Office Exterior    
  • Office Exterior    
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  • Office Exterior    
  • Main Office-Ground Floor    
  • Main Office-Ground Floor    
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  • Main Office-Design Room    
  • Ground Floor-WC    
  • Stairway to Lower Ground Floor    
  • Lower Ground Floor    
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  • Existing and Proposed Front Elevations    
  • Ground Floor Plan    
  • Lower Ground Floor Plan    
  • Natural Ventilation-Natural Light    
  • Natural Light-Design Room    
  • Proposed Facade Detail    

A dilapidated 19th century warehouse converted into an office and workshop to create space for research and development

Catalysed by recession economics, this project for Paul McAneary Architects’ own office required a level of radical thinking beyond the drawing board, encompassing business organisation, procurement, economy and the relationship to the wider urban realm.

Dislodged from its original office by a rent hike, PMA found new premises in Flitcroft Street, a cramped alleyway beside St Giles-in-the-Fields church in London’s West End. In exchange for a comprehensive transformation of the original dilapidated 19th century warehouse, PMA negotiated a substantial rent-free period with its new landlord. Traditional procurement proved infeasible, so PMA set up a design and build company to execute the work.

The remodelled two-storey office is a highly effective and expressive use of space. The ground floor houses the main drawing atelier and the basement an exhibition space and workshop, where the practice builds models, tests mockups and explores details.

To make the basement operational, it was imperative to increase the ceiling height and bring in natural light. PMA employed a special fibre-concrete floor that could be cast as a very thin 70mm slab, so avoiding underpinning costs. Light penetration is maximised through pavement lights and structural glass floor panels. An additional skylight set into the ground floor ceiling to the rear of the atelier funnels light into the basement level workshop through a glass box, which is ingeniously incorporated into a work desk.

Creative recycling consistently underscores the design approach. Offcuts of reconstituted stone became bathroom and kitchen work surfaces, and the street facade was salvaged from another project. Conceived as an alternately clear and translucent glass skin contained within an armature of vertical oak members, the facade’s ribbed surface tactfully discourages graffiti. The sense of overlooking has also conspired to reduce anti-social behaviour, civilising a hitherto notoriously insalubrious public realm.


  • Begun: Jan 2011
  • Completed: May 2016
  • Floor area: 236m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £100,000
  • Address: 6 Flitcroft Street , London, WC2H 8DJ, United Kingdom

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