- Original design
- Darling Associates, 2015
The 2017 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2018 programme in July.
Ampersand is a 64,500 sq ft prime office and residential building in the heart of Soho.
The project, located at 178-180 Wardour Street, is an extensive refurbishment of an existing mixed-use building and the external retrofit of the building’s façade. The project comprises 4 floors of grade A office space, with two penthouse floors containing 10 luxury apartments located on the 5th and 6th floor.
Ampersand was conceived through a creative collaboration between architect, artist and graphic designer leading to a project that embodies Soho’s unique character of commerce and creativity.
In refurbishing rather than rebuilding, this design has enhanced the heritage of this West End location, restored an important Oxford Street elevation, greatly reduced the embodied energy of the scheme, enabled a continuous retail offer at street level throughout the build and created a finished product that is immediately at home in its surroundings.
Ampersand is a signature, contemporary transformation of a landmark building. From the dynamic entrance façade, to the dramatic staircase within the Atrium, to the distinctive Grade A office space, our dedicated design focus is first and foremost to create an inspirational working environment.
With this project, the team saw an opportunity to breathe new life into an existing building, retaining the primary fabric and historic façade, exposing its innate qualities and applying a new envelope fit for the expectations of the sustainable future of commercial office provision in this progressive area of the city.
The brief was to provide high quality office space which would appeal to a wide range of tenant sectors including Media, Telecoms, Technology, Corporate and Professional. The architect was set a challenging brief by both the client and Westminster City Council:
- Improved quality of office accommodation.
- Increased active frontage.
- A new enhanced office entrance at the corner of Wardour Street and Hollen Street.
- Enlarged and improved office reception area.
- Reconfigured core towards courtyard.
- Upgraded lift service.
- Creation of visual interest access and environment within courtyard zone.
- Retention of Oxford Street façade.
- Enhancements to Wardour Street and Hollen Street façades.
- Improved sustainability of the building.
Continuity of materials from the exterior façade to the interior spaces has been carefully considered, creating a holistic, cohesive and beautifully detailed collection of interior spaces.
The building was designed for potential dual tenancy to each floor, the servicing strategy and riser distribution within the floor plates allows this to be implemented with minimal disruption.
A typical floor plate has 82% prime space with primary circulation routes taking only 18% of net. Space planning analysis shows that the scheme achieves appropriate densities for corporate, media and professional uses.
Toilet provision is housed within the main core area providing direct access from each potential tenancy split and natural security at each core access point. The remote toilet core also improves the efficiency and operational management of each floor plate as the unisex super-loos maintaining the net to gross efficiencies.
The floor to ceiling height is 2600mm under spine and 3255mm outside spine, with the ceiling grid configured to allow flexibility within each zone for open plan, cellular or composite layouts. The service risers have spare capacity and dedicated tenant risers are provided within the cores including tenant kitchen risers. Space is also allowed at roof level for future tenant plant and satellite.
The service design includes automated lighting controls systems, including occupancy sensors to control lighting throughout the building. Highly efficient glazing has been utilised to limit the heating and cooling loads and limit energy consumption.
The building provides a total of 64,500 sq ft (NIA) from 1st to 4th floor, ranging from 13,244 sq ft on the 4th floor plate to 17,246 sq ft at the lower levels.
The building benefits from an elegant reception lobby of 1,566 sq ft and has provision for 62 bike racks and lockers and unisex shower facilities in the basement and upper floors. A new bike lift has been installed between ground floor and basement to further encourage tenants to reduce their carbon footprint by cycling to work.
A terrace has been created at the 4th floor which benefits from living walls, which pepper the mansard façade adding a rich depth of contrast to the bronze elements, softened by the natural planting and contained organic forms within the regimented grid.
The over-arching ethos of this project, building on the heritage of the site, is translated directly into the sustainable design.
The approach of retaining the 84% of the existing building that is still characterful, relevant and functional (including the concrete structural frame) ensures that a huge amount of embodied energy is retained, energy that would otherwise be lost in demolition and rebuild.
The complementary approach to this project was to significantly improve the energy and CO2 emissions in use by employing a number of passive design moves in the new refurbished envelope design. Retained walls have been enhanced to a U-value of 0.65 W/m2K. New windows throughout achieve a U-value of 1.1 W/m2K. High standards of detailing ensure that losses are minimised by achieving air-filtration levels of 7.33m3/(h x m2).
At every stage, from Architect to Joiner, the team was focused on maintaining the quality of finishes and precision of execution. This was a key part of the project’s ‘Charter’ driven by the client team and delivered by the design and construction team.
The build quality benefited from the use and early provision of samples and mock ups built in advance of the programmed works. This allowed the design team to fully explore a range of interfaces and junctions throughout the building to ensure each element had been fully considered.
Long recognised and embraced as an icon, Soho is the cultural heart of London’s West End.
Ampersand is located here as part of a major creative and commercial transformation that will connect its exceptional heritage to an exciting future.
A new corner entrance, for the office element, is emphasised in the form of a modern corner turret, not unlike that on the corner of the Wardour Street/Oxford Street junction. It is contemporary in design and ‘tight’ in is horizontal dimensions, to relate to the tight urban grain of Soho.
The new relocated and enlarged office reception helps to increase the active frontage of the ground floor façades. The reception space integrates the Tom Hingston Ampersand logo with the Darling Associates interior material concept to create a stunning entrance space and work of public art.
At the heart of the building is the atrium. Conceived as a place for pause and interaction, this space is composed of a series of pods projecting into the void and a centrepiece sculptural stair by Paul Cocksedge Studio embodying these connections, acting as a structural expression of the Ampersand brand.
One of the key elements of the brief was to improve the office accommodation making it appeal to high-tech, creative companies.
The whole aim of the project has been to create an outstanding work environment which starts at the entrance and continues throughout the whole building.
The existing fabric of the building allowed us to create a very inspiring office environment with the flexibility to adopt it to suit the needs of high profile tenants.
Bicycle storage and shower facilities with dedicated locker storage offer flexibility to tenants for ever greater numbers of cyclists and a fitter and healthier workforce. The quality of finishes in these areas clearly demonstrates to tenants that cycling is a valued means of transport.
The quality of the finishes shows that the users are valued, their work environment matters and so does their wellbeing within it.