Iconic Exchange House transformed | Wallpaper

The distinctive black parabolic arches and exposed industrial farmhouses of Exchange House, designed by SOM in 1990, make it a landmark in the cityscape of London’s Broadgate campus – winning the AIA’s twenty-five year award in 2015. Fast forward to 2023 and London architecture studio Piercy&Company was commissioned by British Land and GIC to redesign the interior of the iconic structure, with the aim of transforming its shared spaces, improving tenant amenities, while pushing the limits of sustainable architectureaccording to the principles of the circular economy.

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

Exchange House reception hall brings a new feeling of warmth

Piercy & Company, a studio familiar with the transformation of historically sensitive spaces, drew on British Land’s extensive archive, using original hand-drawn sketches of the building to inform its redesign. By making the most of the transparency provided by the original continuous glazing of the ground floor and the double height, the architects have established a new synergy between the interior and the freshly landscaped exterior Exchange Square (by DSDHA). This has been achieved through the introduction of internal layered planting, natural materials and a color scheme that reflects the seasonal green scheme of the garden. By playing with the concept of “garden room”, the interior changes have brought the outside in and with it, a feeling of palpable warmth in the reception room.

View of Exchange House reception

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

Geometric patterns create themes and moments

Large-scale tapestries by Kangan Arora, an India-born, London-based textile designer, were featured. The rooms feature colorful abstractions of the building’s characteristic parabolic arches, trusses and steel beams. Meanwhile, elm wood lattice shelves designed by Benchmark, hold delicate raku fired porcelain sculptures by ceramist Nadine Bell, introducing new textures and tones into the space. The unit also reflects the overall exposed structure of the building in its characteristic carpentry – a geometric pattern which is also found in the design of the office level bathrooms.

Office level bathroom details

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

Adopt the principles of the circular economy

In keeping with the circular economy principles that are central to the studio’s overall practice, over 4,000 square feet of existing Pentelikon marble was carefully removed from site, locally cut and hand laid with cement to create a marble floor. terrazzo for the ground floor reception. Only 40% of the existing marble was used in the reception, allowing this style to extend to the floors of the elevator lobbies on other floors, as well as the sinks in the bathrooms on the office floors. The warm, uniquely designed terrazzo brings a welcome contrast in tone and texture to the ubiquitous black steel of the original building, creating a new sense of groundedness in the shared spaces.

Reclaimed Marble Floor Pieces

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

There is more to come; plans are underway to create a new 200m² roof terrace, tapping into previously unused space in the building. This will enhance tenants’ existing range of amenities for work and accommodation. With design that promotes biodiversity and a biophilic approach, Piercy&Company continues to support sustainability, while creating new moments of rest, community and connection with nature.

From peeling back layers to reveal original features and details, to opening new pathways for people to pass beneath the building’s underbelly, and creating dialogues within and throughout the building, Piercy&Company has made avant-garde yet respectful changes to iconic architecture, subtly transforming it for the 21st century.

Reception seen from Exchange Park

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

piercyandco.com (opens in a new tab)

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