Sellar, the London focused investor and developer which delivered the internationally recognised Shard Quarter and specialises in innovative mixed-use projects, has secured a resolution to grant planning permission for the extensive refurbishment and redevelopment of Grand Union House following a unanimous decision from Camden Council.
The decision paves the way for Sellar to deliver a new type of workspace for Camden centred around wellness and sustainability that responds to changes in workstyles and occupier requirements that have been accelerated by COVID-19.
Located in close proximity to the Grand Union Canal, the 6a architects designed project will deliver approximately 70,000 sq ft of high-quality office space as part of Sellar’s vision to transform the current underutilised office and industrial property into a new mixed-use destination that will act as a benchmark for sustainable, low-carbon development in London. Key to achieving this will be the adaptive reuse of the existing building, retaining its concrete structure to minimise waste and embodied CO2.
With construction expected to start in Q2 2022, once complete in early 2024 Grand Union House will provide employment space for over 500 people across a new six storey office and three flexible commercial units on Kentish Town Road, helping attract additional jobs to the area. The project will also deliver six new apartments in a four-storey residential building providing affordable homes on site.
The new double-height office space of Grand Union House will contain extensive planting with winter gardens rising through the building, with the internal spaces designed to maximise natural light and ventilation, including opening windows.
The site runs on Kentish Town Road, which is the primary route connecting Camden Town Station to the new Camden Highline. The Grand Union House design aims to create a new piece of green infrastructure with planted spaces and landscaping from the street and service yard through to the roof of the building. The design will also open the site up and provide improved connectivity to the surrounding area.
Grand Union House forms part of a wider 1980s campus designed by Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners, including a Sainsbury’s superstore and terraced dwellings at Grand Union Walk, both of which are Grade II listed. Grand Union House was originally intended for light industrial use but never served this purpose due to access limitations, and instead accommodated more typical office use.
The design of the redeveloped Grand Union House by 6a architects will reference the “High-Tech” architecture of Sir Nicholas Grimshaw’s original campus.
James Sellar, chief executive of Sellar, said: “Prior to the pandemic, businesses of all shapes and sizes understood the important role well-designed and high-quality, sustainable workplaces played in their ability to attract talent and promote productivity and collaboration. Post COVID, this is now absolutely essential and requires a complete culture shift in building design to prioritise employee health and wellbeing. Grand Union House embodies this design priority by placing greater emphasis on innovative design, fresh air, mixed mode ventilation systems, open spaces, as well as landscaping, trees and gardens inside and out.
“Another key focus for us has been the substantial carbon saving we can make in the construction of Grand Union House by retrofitting the existing building rather than knocking it down and starting from scratch.”
Tom Emerson of 6a architects, said: “Our design takes a holistic approach to making workspace for the post-COVID city, addressing wellbeing, ecology and biodiversity by ensuring access to landscape, daylight and fresh air. The project will also bring about a transformation of the surrounding public realm through extensive planting that will enhance the local environment for pedestrians and cyclists. By integrating workspace interiors, architecture and urban landscaping, the proposals will create a new social and ecological place.”