Craftworks, Bermondsey, 2019



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Previous to finding Woolyard, Craftworks had spent nearly a year in search of an office space that would fit with both our growing needs but also a spatial layout that suited the working arrangement of our practice

The previous tenant had built multiple room dividing partitions, a plethora and abundancy of services which denied the qualities of the historic warehouse fabric to emanate through.

Our concept for the fit out was based on 3 principles;
€¢ Division of the space into both served and serviced space.
€¢ Effective and speedy low carbon construction – principally using CLT throughout for both furniture and for making cabins.
€¢ Construction which was appropriate to our procurement as a master builder using offsite CNC manufactured sheet materials.

Once the space was stripped of the previous tenant’s fitout, we were left with an exposed warehouse character – with W20 steel windows and rough brick face to the inside of the perimeter walls. A simple desk layout was then borne by way of a main communal workspace all being ‘under one roof’ with then a separate row of small ‘chapel’ like rooms that took up the other activities such as model making, material storage, kitchen and library. There was a constant reckoning needed between new and old and an arching ambition to celebrate both worlds into a new cohesive whole. The main workspace was laid out on a regularised grid aligning with the existing bays of the iron columns which became a perfect fit and felt like it had been there when the warehouse was first built in 1860. The left-over space for all the contingent activities also perfectly divided into 5 equal cabins – each having their own narrative and usage. We also wished for the entire space to work as a whole and a full-length coloured curtain – banded into 3 colours which has an illustrious architectural effect of becoming a theatrical screen when the space is being used for open events. Acting as main contractor meant we limited ourselves to 3 materials: CLT (used for walls and ceilings but also desk furniture) koski board for all finer joinery and douglas fir wide boards for the flooring. Overall, the chalky soft feels absorb daylight for making a calm and meditative workspace which is generous in feel, whilst being passive as far as possible in energy use. Importantly, the economy and accuracy of construction meant no wastage, direct supply and a remarkable cost reduction at less than 45sqft (in comparison most fit outs would otherwise be over 100sqft).

Photography by Edmund Sumner


  • Begun: Apr 2019
  • Completed: May 2019
  • Floor area: 195m2
  • Sector: Office
  • Total cost: £100,000
  • Funding: Private
  • Procurement: Self build
  • Address: Woolyard, 52 Bermondsey Street, Bermondsey, SE1 3UD, United Kingdom

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