Located in the centre of Reading, Thames Tower is more than just a smart office building. It distinguishes itself through the creative re-use of the skeleton of its predecessor, the huge contribution it makes to the public realm and the refined purity of its architecture.
Landid Property & Brockton Capital, who own the building, brought on board architects dn-a and main contractors Bowmer & Kirkland to bring the property into the 21st century and since its completion, the project has been successful in the 2018 RIBA Awards having been awarded a RIBA South Award and a RIBA Sustainability Award. The critiques from the judges were overwhelmingly supportive of the project and highlighted how Thames Tower is a ‘building of modern majesty,’ ‘a model of creative sustainability’ and that ‘the whole thing is an object lesson in the virtue of studied simplicity.’
Commenting on the project’s success, Stuart McLarty, CEO of dn-a architecture said: “We are absolutely delighted Thames Tower has won two RIBA awards. The design challenge of taking a dated and neglected ‘70s building and transforming it into a vibrant contemporary new landmark for Reading, worthy of any world city, has rightly been rewarded.”
James Silver, Development Director at Landid added: “We are incredibly proud of the design quality at Thames Tower and are so pleased that has been recognised by the RIBA. This has been a labour of love and the design team worked really well to create a workspace that is like no other in Reading, offering a stylish contemporary office environment which serves the needs of the business community.”
The building that sat on the site before Thames Tower was a stumpy and outdated 1970s office in dire need of repair. It was decided by the development team not to completely demolish the building but to instead, strip it back to its concrete frame and through creative engineering add a further four floors as well as completely re-imagining the interior and exterior.
Amy Hughes from dn-a architecture said: “Originally, Thames Tower was an eleven storey office block base upon a square footprint with chamfered corners. The refurbishment involved adding four additional floors to the building, which has increased the net lettable area from 11,875sqm to 17,642sqm.
“The streetscape around the existing Thames Tower was cluttered and uninviting, considering the building’s prominent location directly opposite the town’s main station. The existing clusters of buildings have been removed making it more accessible. A new landscaping strategy has dramatically improved the appearance of this space, with new terraced landscaped seating provided.”
Reclad in terracotta, the external appearance is a contemporary interpretation of traditional means. A spacious, double height colonnaded entrance, reception area and retail units at ground level provide street presence and amenity, whilst a setback top floor has allowed for the creation of a roof terrace. Office floors have been designed for maximum flexibility leaving tenants with a range of choices from whether to leave services exposed, to occupation density and the design of the kitchens and communal areas.
Amy added: “Thames Tower has enjoyed an enormously positive reception and very quick uptake of rental income in Reading; one newspaper title claimed it has put Reading ‘back on the map’. The building’s redevelopment makes a significant contribution to Reading town centre: its prominent position and ‘landmark’ height means that it is one of the public faces of the town, greeting almost 20 million people each year using the adjacent railway station.”