We were commissioned by Kadans Science Partner, to convert a rather tired 1980s metal shed, currently used as a warehouse and storage facility into vibrant offices and laboratories for start-up, scale-up and mature companies in the Stevenage life science sector.
The proposals are to create office and laboratory spaces within the existing shell of the building. It has been important to work, where possible, with the grain of the building and ensure minimum disturbance to the existing structure and fabric.
A new building frontage and landscaping creates a sense of arrival. Entry into the building is through a single storey space populated with meeting rooms, seating and waiting areas. You pass through this area into a large, double height space where reception desk, cafe, communal meeting rooms and break out spaces convene to create an exciting entrance experience.
The design is conceived as two long streets, which are faced by 2-storey office and laboratory spaces. The elevations along the streets are as transparent as possible and allow views into the into the laboratories and offices. Small breakout spaces, seats and workbenches encourage activity along the street.
At two key junctions breakout spaces are created to foster collaboration between businesses and form important orientation nodes along the route through the building. These spaces will have ‘green houses’ that bring life and light into an otherwise internalised space.
Roof lights along the main streets bring light into the heart of the building.
The offices and labs are designed as separate elements to the main building and read architecturally as elements that are inserted into the existing fabric. The new structure will be concrete on the ground floor and be exposed to contrast with the existing steel structure. This existing structure will be painted a bright colour to differentiate it from the new.
On site at Sycamore house