de Metz Forbes Knight adds a CLT and lattice brickwork extension to a London office building


Jack Hobhouse

York House is a refurbished and extended flexible workspace in King’s Cross, London, designed by dMFK Architects for developer The Office Group. The reworked 1980s building is organised over eight floors and includes offices, a state-of-the-art gym, cafe, library, terraces and roof gardens with panoramic views over the city.


One of the key interventions is a five-storey, cross-laminated timber (CLT) extension to the main facade. The design of this element was developed in response to the council’s pre-application feedback for a high degree of permeability. Its pleated, perforated brindle-coloured brick walls are derived from the existing building palette, but are clearly new, explains the architect.


New office accommodation has also been constructed from CLT on the seventh floor. In contrast to the masonry-faced lower levels, this element is wrapped in perforated aluminium rainscreen cladding with a gold- coloured polyester powder-coated finish. The remodelled facade gives the building a beacon-like quality at night, when it is illuminated internally by soft, diffuse light.


“We will always push for timber over steel or concrete for sustainability reasons”, says Steve Webb, director at Webb Yates Engineers. “Here it’s shown to work not only functionally, but has also become part of the flavour of the building. The transition between the CLT and the existing exposed concrete frame at the back of the front extension is a detail that exemplifies how the building industry can become a little kinder and more considerate.”

Elsewhere, generous windows have been installed on the ground and lower floors to maximise daylighting in the offices and communal lounge spaces. On the upper floors, a number of private and communal courtyards have been added. A new roof terrace located on the seventh floor is contained behind a parapet comprising plum-coloured bricks laid in a stacked dogtooth bond.

Additional Images

Download Drawings


dMFK Architects
Structural engineer
Webb Yates Engineers
Services engineer
Environmental Engineering Partnership
Landscape architect
Space Hub

Structural timber
Curtain walling, windows, doors
Rainscreen cladding
Richardsons Roofing