The Department Store Studios

Location

Brixton, London

Architects

Squire & Partners

Year complete

2021

Overview

The Department Store Studios is an exciting new addition to Squire & Partner’s existing Brixton office, providing a modern and open co-working space, neighbourhood bar, restaurant and screening room. Developed and designed by the architectural firm itself, this project is a masterclass in sustainability centred architecture and contemporary workspace design.

Squire & Partners have developed The Department Store Studios as one of London’s first ‘hyper local’ professional workspaces, updating the derelict annexes, originally constructed in the 1970s, into a space for local creative professionals to co-exist, collaborate and showcase.

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Concept

Subcontractors, Lyons and Annoot installed a bespoke blend of three red bricks including snap headers, which have been uniquely arrangement to produce a rhythmic and textured finished that is strikingly contrasted against the white mortar and smooth stone lintels.

This £7.9m project acts as a modern reflection of the existing Edwardian architecture of its sibling building. The design focused on patterned brickwork and faceted bay windows in a contemporary re-imagination of the existing styles on Bellefield's Road.

Tim Gledstone, partner at Squire & Partners, stated the project’s main intention was to create a building that would house a collaborative culture between the firm's employees and other creatives based in the area. The Department Store, originally built in 1906, was purchased by Squire & Partners in 2007.

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Sustainability

At the forefront of the project’s development was a highly sustainable agenda. The presence of a 120 sqm green roof and planted terraces promotes increased biodiversity, while the use of 28 photovoltaic panels means renewable energy can be used on site. Within the build, the use of mass timber in the primary structure of the building was a conscious decision to reduce the project’s overall environmental impact.

Squire & Partners put cultural sustainability as a top priority, as well as environmental, through the incorporation of local entrepreneur events to generate collaboration with new and existing local professionals. These key focuses make the development an essential part of Bellefields Road’s community and the creative future of Brixton.

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Completion

Taylor Maxwell worked with Squire & Partners to produce the perfect blend of rustic red tones to complement the Edwardian style. The decision to frequently alternate projected snap headers is rarely done and provides both unique visual aesthetics and crucial structure to the brickwork. This was an essential design element regarding stability, as instead of having a cavity, a traditional construction approach was taken.

Internally, a similar traditional approach was taken but instead using tradesman brick to replicate the historic brickwork and retain the traditional appearance, yet also provide the modern durability and reliability of new brick. Black bullnose engineering bricks line the ground floor to provide visual consistency with the neighbouring building.

Squire & Partners have designed and constructed a thoughtful and visually stunning addition to The Department Store, which now carries its own architectural identity.

The Department Store Studios

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