Virgin Money HQ
Winner of the national BCO awards, Spacelab have transformed a listed building in the heart of Edinburgh's financial quarter for Virgin Money, delivering a world class corporate HQ for a new era of banking.
With a brief from the client to maximise the potential for internal face-to-face communication, the incision of a new staircase brings people together and fosters collaboration between departments. The application of the Virgin Money brand and values is both deliberate but subtle in the choice of materials and graphics applied throughout the space.
The Friends Garden
Spacelab worked with multi award-winning gardener Andy Sturgeon to create a calm, green oasis on the roof of Great Ormond Street hospital for staff, which capitalises on fantastic views across London, and doubles up as a venue for functions.
The distinction between inside and outside is blurred, with folding sliding doors that peel back and internal flooring that extends out on to the terrace. Planting is used to create semi-private areas outside, and raised platforms of grass feature timber borders that double up as seating. The rooftop garden was named NHS Best External Space at the Building Better Healthcare Awards in 2008.
Peterborough’s Key Theatre was built in 1973, and it showed, with tinted glass and a cramped entrance. Spacelab’s job was to put it back on the map with a dramatic reconfiguration that would once-again make it a welcoming building, and a cultural landmark. This involved rebuilding the front of the theatre, and extending it, with a new restaurant and bar inside, and a new entrance, lift and stairs to enable a smoother circulation of people.
Being a cultural venue, it was also important that the building had a sense of spectacle, so we wrapped it in a two-storey glazed façade. As well as letting those inside look out – offering views of the River Nene – it also lets those outside look in, so at night, the building becomes its own kind of theatre.
Built on open countryside near Peterborough, this house makes the most of its unique setting, while fitting the needs of its owners into a small amount of space. The south-facing façade is almost entirely glazed, and internal windows mean that all parts of the house benefit from natural light and views.
The construction was simple and cost-effective to match the owners’ needs, and the building is clad with timber to blend sensitively with its surroundings. We also extended the house later to accommodate the owners’ growing family, linking it with a glass corridor. The house won a RIBA Design Award in 2003, and was featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs programme.
The digital creative agency, Good Technology (part of the WPP group of advertising and marketing agencies), had experienced rapid growth, with a number of mergers and acquisitions. Spacelab helped it formulate a new way of working, so that it could accommodate these changes, while maintaining the feel of a small creative agency. This involved creating ‘active’ spaces for brainstorming sessions, and ‘inactive’ spaces for formal meetings. Space was also allocated for ‘hot desking’ to accommodate freelance workers, and a games area that doubles up as a place for client presentations and after-work beers on a Friday. The interior reflects the creativity of the company, with each space having its own, distinct mood.
Great Ormond Street Hospital wanted to create a ‘conservatory type building’ for eating and drinking that offered visitors a tranquil escape, so Spacelab transformed an unused and unloved roof area into a striking, sculptural pavilion in timber and glass, far removed from the usual hospital canteen experience.
Finger-like sections of the zinc-clad roof wrap around the space, and sections of glass between them create a dynamic play of light and shadow inside. It won a RIBA Award in 2005, and in the same year was shortlisted for the prestigious Stephen Lawrence Award, and mid-listed for Britain’s top architectural accolade, the Stirling Prize.