Giving an iconic Leicester Square landmark a new lease of life was a project that created a brand new interior behind a retained landmark façade on an island site at one of London’s key tourist locations. Known as LSQ London, the development incorporates 112,000 sq. ft. of office and retail space.
The project has recently been shortlisted for a 2018 RIBA London Award. All 93 shortlisted buildings are assessed by a regional jury with the winning building announced later in the month. If successful, the Regional Award winners will be considered for a highly-coveted RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results which will be announced in June.
Make Architects were responsible for the design of both the interior and exterior elements of the scheme, with Brookfield Multiplex as main contractors. The project was carried out for Linseed Assets.
Speaking to Premier Construction magazine in August last year, Stuart Blower of Make Architects said: “The quality of the interiors was pretty poor by the time we took on the project, with the only remaining item of merit being the Portland stone façade. We spent 18 months with the planners addressing how we could retain the façade of what they regarded as a major local landmark – which is also the largest building by far on Leicester Square. The planners were very supportive of our proposals.
“The second key element of our design was to look to the future to produce a fantastic, vastly upgraded interior providing both office and retail space for rent.”
The new space provides high specification office accommodation on seven floors, which meets all of the standards of the British Council for Offices – a very important standard for quality office space in London. This guarantees the level of quality that tenants and agents expect relating to energy efficiency, ceiling heights and natural daylight, which the old building did not deliver.
The new building also delivers fantastic new retail space and given the building’s location with 42 million people passing by, this was of major importance in providing premium space in a key location with excellent rental potential.
Previous tenants McDonalds and All Bar One have returned to the building, along with a brewery, a number of new tenants and the world’s largest Lego store.
Stuart said: “The original interior behind the façade was demolished and we extended the basement area to incorporate new space for cycle parking and a plant room. We also removed all of the previous car parking space.
“In addition, we added a ground and mezzanine floor to incorporate the retail units and moved the main office entrance to the other side of the building at the corner of Canton Street and Whitcombe Street. This allowed us to accommodate more prime retail space on Leicester Square, where the original entrance was located.
“Above the retail floors are seven floors of offices with fantastic views across the city. In addition, we added a curved mansard roof and all new windows and building services.”
The main challenges of the project were working with the retained façade. Because the floorplate is not so large, all of the ventilation for the new interior comes in through the retained façade meaning that all of the ventilation services had to be co-ordinated through the façade and new windows.
The retained façade was also a challenge for the contractors because the early phases of the building were constructed in a different way to the retained ones, so an understanding of these different elements and tolerances was key for them.
In keeping with the high specification requirements of the building, Kemmlit Classic Cell floor to ceiling cubicles with a black finish were specified for the toilet blocks on each of the eight floors at LSQ London. In addition, 70 of Kemmlit’s high performance IXOS lockers were also specified and installed in the building’s basement locker room.
Classic Cell has a timeless elegancy and purity of form. The smooth surface door fronts, concealed edges, 42mm thick dividing walls and quality of construction made it the cubicle of choice. IXOS lockers are robust, durable and secure, and are available with a choice of two door fronts – 8mm toughened glass or 13mm solid grade laminate and can be configured to suit individual requirements.
Kemmlit were thrilled to be specified on such a prestigious building.
Stuart concluded: “The contractors did an excellent job and the clients were delighted with the end result in giving this iconic building a new lease of life. The building is now fully let and has proved extremely popular.”