No1 New Oxford Street
- Original design
- Henry Philip Cart De LaFontaine, 1930
- ORMS, 2018
The 2018 programme is now past. We will be launching the 2019 programme mid-August.
Originally designed by architect and planner Henry Philip Cart De LaFontaine, Orms has drawn its design influence from the prominent Art Deco and Art Moderne references throughout the building, the architects’ original drawings and marketing brochure for the original building.
Externally, the prominent ‘prow’ and the oriel windows are clad in the hexagonal green tiles originally proposed by Lafontaine, but not permitted by Giles Gilbert Scott who was the advisor to the Crown and who considered the tiles ‘an innovation’. All the ground floor retail units have been replaced by shop fronts informed by the Art Moderne period of the building’s creation.
The redevelopment also reopens the historic Dunns Passage which connects New Oxford Street and High Holborn.
Located at the juncture of New Oxford Street and High Holborn, Orms has completed the sensitive refurbishment and extension of Commonwealth House into 95,000 sq ft of Grade A office space and 12,250 sq ft of retail space on behalf of TH Real Estate. The BREEAM excellent refurbishment and extension has an exacting attention to detail, references the Art Deco and art moderne periods to create stylish and flexible office space.
The refurbishment has created an additional 10,000 sq ft spread across 9 storeys, alongside the insertion of lifts and bridge decks into the previous courtyard which overlook the new full height glazed atrium at the heart of the building. Sitting below this atrium is a new double height entrance and reception which opens up onto New Oxford Street. On entrance, a curved wall of backlit white fluted glass lights the main building reception accompanied by two suspended pendants that reference the strong geometry.
On the street front, Orms has created a consistent retail frontage by retaining the existing Portland stone piers and adding new curved bay shop fronts. A single storey 9th floor rooftop extension is also set back from the street between the two extended brick cores.
The project has received a lot of attention since completion and has been featured in a number of publications and recently secured a RIBA London Award. The judges commented:
‘This is a very handsome refurbishment of a 1930s triangular shaped plan building, with major alterations and extensions made in the spirit of the original. Orms very carefully researched the original design and attuned their proposals to the aesthetic of the Art Deco and Art Moderne of the period, in a dynamic contemporary way. The top two floors of the building have been rebuilt and a 9th floor added. This alteration sits very comfortably with the original building.
‘It is impossible to see a differentiation between the old and new, as the whole façade has been meticulously tinted to match; and new stonework has been stitched in with great care. Throughout the project the architects, in deference to the original spirit of the building and the care with which they have approached its renovation, have gone far beyond what would normally, be expected in a commercial redevelopment.’
Orms sought to realize LaFontaine’s original vision, sourcing the hexagonal green tiles from Pyrolave who are based in Castelsarrasin, France.
A materials palette of solus stone, brass, dark stained timber and ribbed glass has been used to enhance the building history, alongside green hexagonal glazed tiles which have been added to the exterior façade of the prominent prow Clock Tower and oriel windows on New Oxford Street.