Tintagel House, The Office Group (TOG)’s new flagship flexible workspace on Albert Embankment in Vauxhall, has opened following a major refurbishment by architects Stanton Williams and interior design by Universal Design Studio.
Built in 1960 and occupied by the Metropolitan Police for half a century, Tintagel House continues to stand out on Albert Embankment, an area that has changed dramatically over the past decades and, with the adjacent Nine Elms Development rapidly taking shape, will continue to do so. As a new hub for entrepreneurs and independent businesses, Tintagel House will generate further diversity in the area and contribute to the energy and activity of the revived neighbourhood.
A flexible setting that maximises the unique riverside location
Stanton Williams has transformed the existing 12-storey building into a flexible office setting, designed to cater for a variety of work styles. Taking a sustainable approach, the project has expanded and improved the existing office accommodation with the creation of spacious communal areas in the new extension at ground and first floor levels, in addition to the conversion of the panoramic top floor.
The expansion of the ground and first floors has activated the building’s frontage, engaging both visually and physically with the public space around the building to create a welcoming and open approach. This new extension allows for generous communal spaces where the building’s occupants can meet, share facilities and interact with the wider community, a fundamental aspect in TOG’s approach to the provision of co-working space. The larger floor plates are better suited to open-plan, flexible layouts and can be easily accommodated or reconfigured over time, future-proofing the building.
The majority of the existing top floor plant has been removed and the elegant ‘floating canopy’ roof converted as office space alongside a rooftop bar and terrace, optimising the building’s prominent riverside location and spectacular views across the river of East and West London.
The relationship between the external open space and the interior of the building is mediated by the introduction of two-storey colonnades, giving civic character to the previously introverted lower levels of Tintagel House, while creating a sense of enclosure with external terraces along the riverside for members’ use.
The material palette of facing brick and glazed tiles of the new façade references the original concept of the building, as well the site’s history of pottery and glazed ceramic production, most notably the presence of the Vauxhall Pottery, active in the area between the 17th-19th centuries.
Interiors inspired by ‘The Secret Life’ of Tintagel House
Universal Design Studio, the London-based practice behind the interior design overhaul, anchored the interior influences to Tintagel House’s previous life as a Met Police building. Inspired by the rich heritage belonging to the building, characterised by innovation, intrigue and investigations, the newly designed interiors aesthetically reference archival material from the building in the 1960s, juxtaposed with the new uses of the building.
The former home of the first police computer – an ICT 1301 mainframe installed in the 1960s – the design for key new spaces within Tintagel House reference these state-of-the-art data processing technologies of the era with a strong graphic quality using materials such as brushed stainless steel, terrazzo and block colours, contrasted against contemporary fittings.
Universal has created a broad menu of interiors, which vary in degrees of privacy and openness, designed to accommodate and nurture the creative culture both of TOG’s nomadic 17,000 strong modern working community and guests from the surrounding Vauxhall area. Offering an extensive range of co-working, meeting and hospitality spaces, from specially-considered secluded quiet corners for some head-down calm to socially-oriented public areas designed to generate opportunities for members to connect in more serendipitous ways, each space has been designed with a strong visual identity.
In addition to a members’ bar, café, gym, workshop space, a central ‘forum’ for events and executive suite on the top floor, Universal has also designed a Secret Room within Tintagel House, a speakeasy-style member’s only space concealed behind a cleaner’s cupboard door entrance.
Jason Holley, Director, Universal Design Studio said,
“Tintagel House is a genuinely optimistic and engaging addition to the wider Nine Elms development. We are delighted to bring energy and relevance once again to this South London Landmark through our imaginative renovation and restoration of the interior. Working with the grain of the existing building and drawing on our knowledge of the local history we have created a diverse set of spaces, designed to nurture a creative culture that feel both sympathetic, yet thoroughly modern and innovative.”
The site around the building has been transformed with new landscaping by Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape. Richly planted areas along the riverside path and on the upper floor terraces boost biodiversity while enhancing the overall appearance of the building. The previously neglected section of riverside path has been overhauled; it has doubled in width and been resurfaced in York stone, matching the paving of Bazalgette’s Albert Embankment, while the addition of new lighting improves safety.
Charlie Green, Co-CEO at TOG, said:
“‘The bones of this building are excellent with brilliant natural light, probably as good as you can get, but it’s not an established business location… yet. It’s an area that’s improving at a dramatic pace and to be part of that story, we’ve worked incredibly hard to deliver a building that is striking in its design and very, very rich in its content.”
Alan Stanton, Director at Stanton Williams, said:
“We have been pleased to work with TOG on this project to give an unloved 1960s building a new lease of life, creating spaces that support new ways of working for entrepreneurs and independent businesses. The project also makes a generous contribution to the local community via an improved public realm and new riverside garden.”