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Forge\

Creating a new commercial destination in the centre of Woking

A refurbishment that includes a new 4th floor office floorplate, reception, café, adaptable grid in the existing atrium, excellent cycle facilities and a transformed external façade.

Occupying a prime, central location in a location undergoing extensive regeneration, this transformation will be a landmark commercial building in Woking.

Previously a dated '90s office space, the building has been transformed into a new workplace with a focus on amenity and collaboration. Extensive refurbishment has provided large volume spaces, a new prominent entrance and a hotel style reception and café extension that contrasts the existing concrete building structure with soft, rich materials.

The fourth floor, originally used for plant equipment and storage has been converted to provide high quality B1 office accommodation. This is enhanced by new floor-to-ceiling glazed dormer windows, affording spectacular views across the Surrey countryside.

A steel grid structure has been introduced into the atrium providing breakout spaces for tenants and a new heart to the building for events and collaboration. The grid can be adapted to provide different configurations of space as tenants needs change over time.

The big idea

Existing as an uninspiring commercial office site, the building was too young to demolish and redevelop, yet turned its back to the street and lacked any hierarchy of space inside. Our big idea was to give the building more prominence by creating a new entrance facing the main pedestrian route to Woking Station, providing more street presence with a new café open to the public on Church Street.

Amenity and collaboration were prioritised by cutting and carving the building to provide large volume spaces and a cycle ramp that leads to enhanced cycle and fitness facilities at basement level. The building has been painted black and branded to reposition it as a workplace of the future, together with a creative interior design that stands out from its neighbours.

Working from the inside out

The challenge was to translate the identity of the brand into a physical space, ultimately creating a place that people can easily relate to.

We proposed expanding the colour palette of the brand to include a wider, more sophisticated spectrum of tones, achieving a distinctive character in each space.

With the name of the building originating from being located on Forge End, our material palette took inspiration from the concept of the 'forge', drawing on the traditional process of burning wood to heat metal. We proposed a rich combination of charred timber, a traditional Japanese technique of preserving wood, concrete, metal and oak.

To complement the rugged industrial materials, we added more refined materials such as terrazzo, fluted glass, fabric and wallpaper.

Fixed furniture has been included as visual landmarks and will encourage people to enter the public lobby and help them to navigate around the building.

“Using a combination of pink terrazzo, charred timber, concrete and brass, the reception area creates a real 'buzz' in the building. It's why my favourite space is the balcony that overlooks it - it's a great way to take it all in.”

Andrew Hills Architect

Project Summary

  • Project name: Forge
  • Location: Woking, Surrey, UK
  • Sector: Workplace
  • Value: £12m
  • Type: Refurbishment
  • Client: V7
  • Client: Mayfair Capital
  • Status: Construction
  • Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Engineer: Elliott Wood Partnership
MEP: Hoare Lea / Maze
Project Management / Quantity Surveyor: Potter Raper
Main Contractor: Thirdway Contracts

Awards

  • BCO Awards 2022 - Recycled/Refurbished Workplace - Winner

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