Leicester Print Workshop

Takero Shimazaki Architects, Leicester, 2015


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The original warehouse was in a state of disrepair 

Anton Gorlenko     Download Original

  • The original warehouse was in a state of disrepair    
  • New windows activate the existing facade    
  • A new shop and gallery space addresses the street    
  • Picture windows connect the interior spaces with the surrounding streets    
  • The reception space on the ground floor    
  • Picture window    
  • Studio spaces are arranged around a central void    
  • Picture window    
  • The studios are white boxes    
  • The layout provides places of interaction    
  • Existing site plan    
  • Existing ground floor plan    
  • Existing first floor plan    
  • Existing roof plan    
  • Existing section A    
  • Existing elevations – north and south    
  • Existing elevations – east and west    
  • Site location plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • First floor plan    
  • Section B    
  • Section C    
  • Section D    
  • Section E    
  • Section H    
  • South elevation    
  • North elevation    
  • The site before work began    
  • The site before work began    
  • The site before work began    
  • The site during construction    
  • The site during construction    
  • The site during construction    
  • The site during construction    
  • The site during construction    
  • The site during construction    
  • Development sketch    
  • Development sketch    
  • Staircase detail    
  • Detailed section through upper level    

Refurbishment of 1970s warehouse to provide workshops for one of the country’s leading print facilities.

With basic finishes, blockwork walls and concrete floors left exposed, this functional space is designed to be personalised by the artists who use it. Downstairs the space has been mainly left open-plan with smaller rooms to the side providing specialist areas for differing print techniques. It also includes a small classroom area for school groups.

The 445m² warehouse was completely gutted to allow for the insertion of new windows, floor and roof to form 790m² of new spaces. Existing historical artefacts including immense steel beams, cranes, a raw concrete floor and external brick piers and walls have been retained in place. The ‘new’ inserted or layered elements have been predominantly constructed and tied in white in colour to highlight the existing artefacts and preserve the building’s character.

A mezzanine level has been added to create an upstairs. Here, the architect’s original drawings depicted a large open-plan area, but with the intention of breaking it down into smaller studio spaces, budget permitting. The small studios are white boxes, each with windows looking out on to the central space. They have been kept plain so the eight artists who rent the spaces can customise their own studios.

Shadows remain of the building’s former industrial use. Its steel structure and industrial lifting gear add a touch of colour to the spaces, which are otherwise predominantly white. The shed’s former windows have all largely been taken out and blocked up, but ghost outlines have been created in slightly recessed brickwork where they were. New strategically placed windows create a connection to the surrounding streets and fill the inside of the building with natural light.

The sustainability aspect of the project was addressed with the overall design philosophy of maximising the existing structure and thus reusing the embodied energy already contained within the structure. Passive heating has been maximised by judicial use of glazing and the use of rooflights and lightwells in the structure has enhanced daylight levels even into the ground floor areas, while the addition of high levels of thermal insulation has reduced the energy required to heat the building. Demand controls have been applied to ventilation systems, to avoid unnecessary wastage of energy by running the ventilation when the ventilation is not required. 


  • Begun: Mar 2015
  • Completed: Nov 2015
  • Floor area: 790m2
  • Sectors: Arts and culture, Office
  • Procurement: JCT Intermediate Building Contract
  • CO2 Emissions: 16.75kg/m2/year
  • Address: 50 George Street, Leicester, LE1 1QG, United Kingdom

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