Block Office

OEB Architects, London, 2018


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James Whitaker - Whitaker Studio Ltd     Download Original

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Reconfiguration and refurbishment of a two-storey office space for a tech company, to provide a ‘client experience centre’, informal meeting spaces and private booths for video conferencing.

The client sought to improve the quality of the office space for their team, better reflect their corporate identity, and introduce spaces that accommodate different degrees of privacy and types of working – to form an ‘intelligent open plan’ workspace.

The key spatial moves were to clarify and differentiate the uses of the ground and lower ground floors, and adjust the layout to sit more sympathetically in relation to the existing structure.

The ground floor was consolidated as the primary desk-based work area, with removal of an enclosed meeting room giving a more generous space and improved daylight to all workstations.

The existing tables were reconfigured to give improved circulation and a more ordered sense of space around the columns.

In the basement, a series of bespoke objects were introduced, defining the central presentation area between them. These include a new kitchen island, giving space for informal meetings and events; recladding the stair; and the bank of meeting booths that lightly hug the columns.

Recognising the client’s business using tech for real-world applications primarily in healthcare, the objects are expressed as both block-like and screen-like, 3D objects with planar constituent parts made explicit. They are built from ply, exposed where encountered close up, with a muted RGB colour scheme applied selectively to express their overall volume when viewed from a distance.

New wall, ceiling, and floor finishes brighten and give warmth. A new lighting scheme lends clarity and simplicity to the cluttered existing soffits.

Storage was rationalised in the recess beneath the street, and boxing-out removed to give additional head height and expose the existing pavement lights above.


  • Begun: Aug 2018
  • Completed: Oct 2018
  • Floor area: 400m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £190,900
  • Funding: Private
  • Tender date: Aug 2018
  • Procurement: JCT ICD 2016
  • Address: London, United Kingdom

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