This multi-storey development offers four floors of commercial space, with a separate unit consisting of three high-end apartments and a duplex penthouse. Refurbishment and retrofit works have been made to the existing build, with the addition of two extra storeys, joining the new with the old.

Plans for Shorts Gardens kept the protection of the building’s heritage in mind, whilst taking full advantage of its potential – its location, its style and the materials already present. When designing, it was important to protect the existing features and materials, so precise approaches during the retrofit were needed in order to work around these constraints and show off these unique aspects.

Key elements have been kept – paying tribute to the rich history of the area – such as the existing structure, slabs and staircases. We assisted with reopening and preserving the original red brick arched windows, reinstating the building’s character and story.

Where possible and appropriate, the fabric of the building has been left exposed, such as the varying brick types and the façade, to keep a focus on the character and history of the building fabric, whilst minimising material usage and waste.

The commercial spaces were completed to Cat A with raised access floors and a double lift connecting the floors. An underfloor pressurised system was installed to provide ventilation, as opposed to traditional methods, keeping the ceiling space clear.

The basement of Shorts Gardens is split into two floors over 8m deep, with the existing columns diving around 13 meters below the 2.5 meter thick floor. Opening a section of the ground floor has allowed natural light to reach the basement through the heavily glazed façade.

Directly below sits the new Elizabeth Line, which created some limitations in terms of vibrations and methodology to temporary works that were needed for various tasks, such as; the underpinning of the party wall; piling to support the West area of the building; and the excavation and rebuilding needed to increase the floorspace of the basement.

A weighted crane, which helped manoeuvre between the tight spaces, required constant monitoring so as not to impact on the road, sewage, and the tunnel below, to keep movement to a minimum.

Planning conditions restricted the external façade and brickwork, requiring white glazed brick blending into the area on one side of the building. Elsewhere, the reclaimed bricks from the initial structure were reused, adding to the character of the building and contributing to the project’s ESG principles. The massive reclamation effort preserved core materials on site, consisting of five different types of brick being cleaned during the deconstruction, before being labelled and stored ready to be reused.

On the south side sits the residential units, three of which follow similar floor plans of high-end two-bedroom apartments, and a spectacular duplex penthouse sitting at the top of the building, making use of its new height with floor to ceiling windows and a private terrace. To separate the commercial and the residential sides, a separate lift is provided for private access.

Acoustic treatment was also necessary to reduce the hum from the nearby transformers at the UKPN. A ‘box within a box’ technique was used to completely isolate all surfaces on the residential side, acting fully independently from the structure. Further acoustic flooring and two types of glazing have been used in the new sections, whilst the steelwork reduces the vibrations in the existing sections.

Span Group

32,800 sq. ft

Construction Period
18 months

Project Value

Area of Advice
Project Management
Contract Administration