Layden House\

Transforming a 70s office block

The refurbishment of a tired 1970’s office building to create a vibrant commercial destination adjacent to Farringdon Station and bring new life to Turnmill Street.

With the imminent arrival of Crossrail at Farringdon Station the landlords of Layden House - the Local Government Association – intend to refurbish the existing building to achieve current BCO standards and reflect the new age of office culture. The transformation of the ground floor into retail and restaurant units will re-activate Turnmill street and create an inviting addition to the local conservation area.

The Challenge

The current building was constructed in the 1970’s, then re-clad in the 1990s and presents many challenges to update it to today's standards. It’s metal cladding and rigid structure stands out in the historical context of the Clerkenwell Green Conservation Area. The ground floor, currently occupied by offices and a print room, is closed off to the many that walk past the building when using Farringdon station. The dense city block creates a tight site with many rights of light, overshadowing, local viewpoints and party wall issues.

The Big Idea

Our proposal is to transform Layden House through a series of subtle and contrasting rotations of the primary facade, helping to bring new life to the building. At street level the ground floor façade is turned relative to the existing façade orientation to more directly address the Farringdon station entrance on Turnmill St. The upper floors from first to fourth floor are rotated in the opposite direction to re-introduce the historic street-line and create an overhanging form. Finally the fifth floor retains the original orientation generating a set-back at the south of the building adjacent to the four-floor neighbour. This modification of the front elevation will help to significantly increase the overall NIA and efficiency of the building

Brick cladding has been chosen for this conservation area location, but a variety of grey shades, in a vertical orientation with playful projecting bands provides a contemporary but sympathetic language.

Working From the Inside Out

Office culture has shifted in recent years to a collaborative environment. As a result alongside the reception to the offices, a new co-working space will provide an area for the tenants and their clients to meet and work. On the roof a new communal garden will provide another collaborative space to interact, and enjoy views of London.

  • Project Details
  • Materials

Project Summary

  • Project name: Layden House
  • Location: London, UK
  • Sector: Workplace
  • Value: £16m
  • Type: New build
  • Client: Local Government Management Board
  • Status: Construction
  • Completion date: 2020

Project Team

M+E: Peter Brett Associates
SE: Peter Brett Associates
Cost Consultant: Turner and Townsend
Planning Consultant: Scott Brownrigg
Approved Inspector: MLM
Heritage Advisor: The Heritage Advisory
CDM: PFB Construction Management Services


Brick is by far the most prominent material used within local vernacular. Working alongside manufacturers we have developed a bespoke vertical brick pattern, rather than matching the traditional bond, to emphasise the contemporary refresh of the building. To bring warmth to the building copper coloured aluminium will be used with the window reveals and flanking elevations, referencing the historical site use as a Gin Distillery.

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