Walsingham House – a prominent 1930s office building in the City of London – has been extensively upgraded and extended by John Robertson Architects for KHI Holdings Group. Originally designed by Howard & Souster, the building features a classical Portland stone facade and is sited on the corner of Crutched Friars, Seething Lane and Pepys Street within the Trinity Square Conservation Area.
“The transformation of Walsingham House is an example of what we call ‘contextual civic modernism’”, explains Festus Moffat, director at John Robertson Architects. “The project is part of JRA’s wider aim to preserve the historic fabric and character of our cities, while producing contemporary buildings that meet the requirements for workplaces in the digital age.”
The existing lightwell has been infilled with new core facilities to create contemporary floorplates that incorporate flexible workspaces and Grade A office accommodation. Accessibility and environmental performance have been upgraded with the building expected to receive BREEAM ‘Excellent’ certification.
The original pitched roof has been removed and two new floor levels added. These are set back to respect the scale of the adjacent buildings on Pepys Street and Seething Lane. The masonry cladding is designed to complement the existing Portland stone facade, cornice line and fenestration on the floors below.
The three uppermost floors incorporate private terraces with panoramic views. On the ground floor, the existing stone portico has been retained and the entrance enhanced to provide a full accessibility to the open-plan reception space. The ground floor also includes two new office units, which can be easily converted into retail units if required.
Art Deco-inspired metal panels add embellishment and relief to the spandrel units on the top floor, while also visually linking the top and base of the building. The existing stonework has been cleaned and existing defects repaired. High-performance glazing replaces original single-glazed unit, maximising daylighting, reducing energy consumption, and limiting solar gain.