55 Baker Street

  • London

  • 2008

  • Contractor H.B.G.

  • Photos: Charlotte Wood

Renovation and extension of a 1950s office building which achieves a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”

The 55 Baker Street development has created a dynamic new presence on one of London’s principal urban routes with a major new public space at its heart. This renovation and extension of a 1950s office building pursues a cost and energy-efficient strategy of retention and enhancement which takes advantage of the current building’s many assets and allows it to fulfil its potential as an important new urban amenity. While the majority of the existing building has been retained, the structure is rationalised by the removal of the existing vertical cores and the construction of new floor plates which offer substantially increased office accommodation. Full-height atria have been created at the heart of these office floors to draw light deep into the building. The transformation of the building is dramatically expressed by the central glazed section which encloses a spectacular seven-storey atrium, accessed directly from street level and open to the public. The ground floor of the building has been entirely re-clad and devoted to retail units, cafes and restaurants serving the area’s residents, business employees and shoppers. The distinctive sculptural effect of the building’s exterior is carried through into the design of the interior, where the straight lines and flat planes of the existing structure are contrasted with the folded planes and faceting of the new designs. A system of chilled beams is employed throughout office areas as part of a completely integrated approach to energy use. The scheme has been designed to minimize environmental impact and optimize energy efficiency and will achieve a BREEAM rating of “Excellent”.


  • Unitised façade

  • Stick curtain walling system

  • Featuring elements

The technology

The bespoke design of energy high performance profiles together with solar control Double Glazed Units has qualified the building for a classification of the façade insulation less than 2 W/m2K°. The typical dimensions of the units are 1800 mm wide by 3200 mm in height with a weight of approximately 300 kg each. The difficult refurbishment of an old building structure which was divided into 4 almost independent blocks has been overcome by 3D millimetric surveys and by a complex analysis of the expected structural movements. The structural joints have been concealed beneath aluminium flashings which allow the differential movements between the structural blocks.
The staircases, which project 3m outwards from the main building, are 24m high and 10 m wide. The juxtaposition of diamond shaped aluminium sheets creates the external shield which has been internally insulated using proprietory insulated panels. The complexity of the tetrahedron shape soars skywards. A bright contrast is produced by the sheets silver anodised finish and the texture of the existing Portland stone.
The lighting of the interiors is enhanced by two large atria (length: 22 m x 18 m) each one with a glazed roof consisting of a three-bay tetrahedrical skylight. The structural steel grid supports aluminium profiles. The solar controlling patterned rhomboidal double glazed units are the toggle fixed to the aluminium grid and finished with a flush silicone pointing. The 3D design has been analysed and checked by several impact tests (CWCT TN42) in order to achieve the highest standard of safety in the event of accidental breakages or falls.
At groundfloor level, along the 120 metres Baker Street elevation, there are shops, cafès and restaurants. The shopfronts consist of structural glazed fins, aluminium frames, and are glazed with structural silicone glass units. The entrances consist of large pivoted aluminium doors exceeding the standard commercial dimensions. Again, the boundaries with the existing Portland stone are contrasted by the complexity of the tetrahedron shaped silver anodised features finished.


Make Architects

Make Architects is an architectural practice based in the United Kingdom founded by Ken Shuttleworth. They have offices in London, Birmingham, Beijing, Hong Kong and registered offices in the Middle East. The practice is currently engaged in projects worldwide ranging from high rise offices to urban masterplans, residential and office developments, civic buildings, private and social housing, education buildings and interior design. In 2012 Make was ranked 46th in The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work For category. They were also awarded Practice of the Year - South East and London by the Architects' Journal at the AJ100 Awards.