Sycamore House

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Sycamore House
Kadans Science Partners
Stevenage, Hertfordshire
6,350m2 NIA

We were commissioned by Kadans Science Partner, to convert a rather tired 1980s metal shed, previously 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 were 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 create 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 panel of judges was profoundly impressed by the remarkable transformation of Sycamore House, which evolved from a lacklustre, underutilised storage facility into a state-of-the-art office space, deeming it “truly inspirational.”

The BCO National Awards Judges 2023

‘The Refurbished/Recycled Workplace award went to Sycamore House in Stevenage, an office that challenges the idea of what makes a good workspace. The building was unanimously acclaimed by the judging panel for its transformation from an unused metal shed into a cutting-edge life-science facility. Sub-divisible laboratory and office spaces co-exist with vibrant, communal areas that are served by a café and dramatically planted winter gardens. The overall effect is of a multi-tenanted building that feels light, open and genuinely collaborative, encouraging interaction between neighbouring start-up companies’

The BCO Regional Awards Judges 2023


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.

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 is concrete on the ground floor and is exposed to contrast with the existing steel structure. This existing structure is painted a bright orange to differentiate it from the new.

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 have ‘winter gardens’ that bring life and light into an otherwise internalised space.

Roof lights along the main streets bring light into the heart of the building.

On site at Sycamore house

Before work started

Partners and Suppliers
Heyne Tillet
Abakus Consulting
Hilson & Moran
GIA Equation
Main Contractor
Project Manager
Buro Four
Principal Designer
OWA with AFP Construction
Award List
Hertfordshire Architecture Awards - Winner
BCO Regional Awards - Refurbished/Recycled Workplace - Winner
AJ Retrofit Awards - Shortlisted
BCO National Awards - Refurbished/Recycled Workplace - Winner