London, United Kingdom
Studio RHE designed Roots in the Sky to be a unique combination of a creative powerhouse and an oasis in the City with London’s first urban forest rooftop.
Believing that “the greenest building is the one that exists” is what set their creative bid apart from the competition.
The Blackfriars Crown Courts, previously the HM Stationery Printing Office, was completed in 1961 in an era when municipal buildings were delivered with care and pride.
Studio RHE soon discovered that having been a print works, the building foundations could withstand considerably increased load and we set about bringing this masonry urban block into the next century and forging new relationships with its surrounding community.
Utilizing a “Creative Menu” approach for the client–Fabrix London–the architects designed a series of innovative options including a public street that carves a new connection through the ground floor, creating a pedestrian desire line and shared urban and retail activity deep inside the new space.
Following initial structural analysis, we designed a lightweight CLT and steel structure with varying heights and volumes that could be managed by the footings, eventually establishing an 8 storey max roof deck with some lightweight timber pavilions on the new roof level.
Connecting the section of the street at ground level with the roof is a vast new open atrium filled by a labyrinthine working wellness staircase and surrounded by glazed work spaces with up to 8 metres height, all finished in timber to encourage tenants to express their individuality and to create the perfect space for their particular way of working.
Full height sliding sash windows and generous terraces will create genuine natural ventilation, backed up by a displacement heat pump ventilation system and chilled beams, all required to achieve the BREEAM “Outstanding” rating.
The central glazed atrium is crowned by one of our signature glass-bottom swimming pools and a tenants’ club, bar, and water tower pavilions.
All surrounded by London’s first rooftop woodland forest of over 1 acre and 1,000 trees inspiring the name “Roots in the Sky.”
A lower roof level provides a local community barn and gardens, with direct lift access and its own cantilevered Potting Shed and stair all with amazing views back to the Shard and City roofscape for the public.
An existing service ramp has been reimagined as a bike ramp to deliver occupants to the existing basement and the best end of journey facilities, utilizing the experience of changing rooms at “Third Space” and defining a new commercial standard.
Project: Roots in the Sky
Architects: Studio RHE
Consultants: Quantem and Harris Bugg Studio
Project Manager: Gardiner & Theobald Planner
Client: Fabrix Londo