133 Whitechapel

Morrow + Lorraine, London, 2016


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Cellular offices have been inserted to provide smaller spaces for start-ups and new companies 

Morrow + Lorraine Architects     Download Original

  • Cellular offices have been inserted to provide smaller spaces for start-ups and new companies    
  • The theme throughout is one of lightness of touch    
  • The white interior is clean and crisp    
  • The kitchen    
  • A line of booth-like desks    
  • The exposed concrete floor    
  • Breakout space    
  • The pastel hues suggest Art Deco Miami    
  • A spiral staircase winds down through the lightwell    
  • This is a light retrofit with much of the building’s shell left untouched    
  • Basement, ground floor and first floor plans    
  • Second, third and fourth floor plans    
  • Fifth, sixth and seventh floor plans    
  • Section    
  • Section AA    
  • Section B    
  • South facade    
  • West facade    
  • Polycarbonate elevation    
  • High level table detail    
  • Reception desk detail    
  • Shopfront detail    
  • Study carriage detail    

Art Deco Miami inspires the retrofit of a 1930s space in east London to provide a flexible co-working space.

Morrow + Lorraine’s 133 Whitechapel High Street is a space that responds to those who want an office or desk space on flexible terms. There is everything from small offices to ones that span whole floor plates, as well as meeting rooms, terraces, co-working spaces and a café.

With a colour scheme of pastel hues inspired by Art Deco Miami, sickly sweet colours add a freshness while also signalling every element the architect’s hand has touched, from the new plywood screens to desks and booths. Pure white raw spaces and exposed concrete adjoin the restored parquet floor in a celebration of the building’s original atmosphere.

On some floors, cellular offices have been inserted to provide smaller spaces for start-ups and new companies. The walls of these use the same timber-framed screen system that also divides the larger co-working spaces to create smaller meeting rooms. Designed by the architect rather than using an off-the-shelf system, these walls are meticulously detailed and fit well into the space. Their mix of clear and semi-transparent polycarbonate glazing provides a sense of openness and a visual connection between office spaces.

It was a tricky building form to work around – some spaces completely lacked windows and any daylight. The back of the building away from the street was a long expanse of dark, deep spaces. To get around this, Morrow + Lorraine cut through the floor slab, inserting a lightwell into the plan. The large two-storey co-working space spans around it on two floors connected by a spiral staircase that winds down through the lightwell.

Offices also overlook the area, with full-height glazed screens opening out on to the space and Juliet balconies allowing for interaction and enlivening the space. Against one wall of this floor sits a line of booth-like desks, which Morrow + Lorraine designed to match the building’s pastel colour scheme. They offer a different style of seating, where workers can sit on their own as opposed to the large shared table spaces that also sit in the centre of the space.


  • Begun: May 2015
  • Completed: Aug 2016
  • Floor area: 3,924m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Procurement: Design and Build
  • Address: 133 Whitechapel, London, E1 7QA, United Kingdom

Professional Team