The Gramophone Works - Studio RHE

Project Details

Project - The Gramophone Works

Sector - Commercial

Technology - Hybrid

Company - Studio RHE

Project Overview:

Situated alongside the Grand Union Canal in West London, The Gramophone Works comprises a mix of refurbished, extended and new-build contemporary office spaces. Retaining the existing concrete elements to the two-storey record factory allowed the project team to integrate the striking property into the historic and social fabric of the surrounding neighbourhood; while at the same time adopting advanced timber technology to help deliver a sustainable and healthy phased development.

The former Headquarters of Sanderson Fabrics and subsequently of Saga Records at the epicentre of reggae music in London, The Gramophone Works is a new canal side commercial scheme constructed using the latest in timber technology to create a sustainable and healthy workplace environment. The distinctive design takes it’s cues from the industrial heritage of the site as well as historic links to the music industry, creating a vibrant and characterful waterside working campus.

The existing 1930s building, was designed to be extended upwards as the owner’s business grew. In order to facilitate this a heavily engineered structure was constructed with column stubs protruding from the roof as well as two 5 storey circulation towers. The new building seeks to finally fulfil the ambitions of the original architect by retaining the existing structure to be re-used as the foundation for extending upwards to maximise the site’s commercial potential. The building consists of a solid brick base with punched hole glazed openings that are reminiscent of the Canal side warehouse architecture of the past. Above this a set-back contemporary glazed facade rises skywards.

The aluminium fins take their rhythm from the brick penetrations below (as well as the grooves on a vinyl record!) and contrast strongly with the solid base which grounds itself to the site. A new landscaped Public Realm links Kensal Road with the Canal and adds a towpath Cafe to encourage activity and permeability through the site. A key identity of the design is the celebration of the circulation towers. Both towers have been raised to the height of the extended building and are capped by a glass feature meeting rooms to add character and vertical expression.

The use of offsite technology is integral to the form and aesthetic of the development and has been a significant contributing factor in achieving BREEAM Excellent certification.  A truly hybrid Glulam, CLT and steel structure supported by the exiting building limits demolition and traps carbon throughout the buildings lifetime.