MTV UK Headquarters \

Revitalising a Victorian brewery

Refurbishment of a Victorian Grade II listed bottle warehouse, to create a new, flexible working environment for MTV.

From warehouse to workspace

After many years spent empty, tired and neglected, Derwent London hoped to turn Elephant House into a creative and flexible workspace for media company MTV, utilising as much of the Grade II-listed warehouse building as possible.

“This redundant warehouse has been transformed into a creative and imaginatively designed space, appropriate to the dynamic tenant and location.”

Derwent London

Celebrating the past

Elephant House was once a Victorian ale-bottle warehouse, and its provenance has informed the design, revitalising and celebrating the building’s original industrial features. The characterful attic level was opened up to increase natural daylight and thermal efficiency, whilst all the floors were reconfigured to improve accessibility and increase the net lettable area. Elements of the building’s structure were restored and revitalised, including its cast iron columns, timber trusses and barrel vaulted arches, transforming them into defining features of the project.

During demolition, an original black metal bottle cap bearing the company’s elephant head motif was found, and is now installed at eye level in the main entrance door - a subtle but significant detail.

Attention to detail

The building’s past has been brought to life by using bottle-patterned perforations in the main steel staircase, and round glass mosaic tiles in public areas. The building’s WCs and showers have colourful tiled walls inspired by the vibrant Victorian bottle baskets and MTV’s own branding.

Creating a home for MTV

The fit out for MTV’s UK Headquarters needed to reflect both the heritage of the building and the youth-oriented culture of the company. We introduced colour to the interior design through glazed tiling, loose furniture and light fittings, and future-proofed the project by installing partitions that can be adjusted with little impact to the fabric of the building.

“Hawkins\Brown adeptly interpreted the needs and culture of our organisation to design an environment that fits our present and future needs. Working with them has been a pleasure.”


  • Project Details
  • Sustainability

Project Summary

Project Team

Akera Engineers
Peter Deer and Associates
Capita Symonds
The Thornton Partnership


  • BD Architect of the Year Awards 2013 - Refurbishment - Shortlisted
  • AJ Retrofit Awards 2013 - Heritage - Shortlisted
  • AJ Retrofit Awards 2013 - Offices under £5 million - Shortlisted


Elephant House is a refurbishment project that sets out to reuse as much of the existing structure as possible. The original steel windows were refurbished and double-glazed or matching windows sourced and installed, dramatically increasing the building’s natural light levels and thermal efficiency. The roof was lined with insulation and a new comfort cooling system was installed to ensure a comfortable and responsive environment. As a result, the predicted air tightness levels (to 10m2/m2 @ 50pa) and reduced the predicted heat loss; annual predicted CO2 emissions (to 30.60 kgCO2/m2), and predicted energy demands (to (59 kWh/m2).

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