Arup office sets new standard in workplace design

15 Apr 2010

Today marks the announcement of practical completion of No 8 Fitzroy Street – Arup's new £42 million central London offices.

The space was designed by architects Sheppard Robson, constructed in two phases by Laing O’Rourke with design of internal spaces by Arup Associates and interior designers MoreySmith. All supported in their designs by Arup engineers and specialists.

  • The 15 April issue of the Architects Journal features the completion of No 8 Fitzroy St, focusing on the collaborative nature of the project.

    It follows a tour of the building hosted by Richard Marzec, Roy James and Sheppard Robson. Download the article (PDF / 1800kb).

The building provides Arup with six floors of office space with meeting rooms and conference facilities at basement level and a reception area, café, library and public exhibition space at ground level. The gross floor area for the completed development is approximately 16,400m².

Under agreement with the original landlord, the base building had to conform to normal commercial Developer’s Standards but as long term tenants Arup sought to improve the base provisions. This enabled the design team to incorporate many unique features to produce a building that is both innovative and sustainable. Derwent London, who took over as Landlord have been supportive of this approach.

Dick Lee, Shared Services Director, Arup commented: “Our aspiration for the new building has been to set a new standard for our workplace environment; to make a step change in the use and feel of our space; challenge our usual standards; to keep what is good but improve where we can to appeal to our future and existing staff. We have the entire cross-disciplinary team to thank for the delivery of this world-class building.”

Internal enhancements include a feature staircase within the Atrium to link the communal spaces at ground and basement level and bespoke glass artwork specially commissioned from Alex Beleshenko, which makes up the fourth side of the atrium. Externally the striking glass façade forms an abstract pattern created by a composition of opaque coloured, translucent and clear vision panels. The pattern design and performance of the glazing panels optimises the amount of natural daylight entering the building while simultaneously reducing solar heat gains.

Mark Kowal, Partner at Sheppard Robson and Principal Architect commented: “We are pleased to reach completion of the final phase of 8.Fitzroy Street. It is a highly innovative building with a striking façade – appropriate for Arup – the engineering innovators of the construction industry. The design adopts an order dictated by the repetition of a helical DNA strand wrapped around the entire perimeter. The same concept is also expressed on the textured patterning to the atrium feature glass wall.”

Other environmentally enhancing features of the design include a chilled beam heating and cooling system, solar heated hot water supply, rainwater collection, daylight sensors and significant submetering allowing monitoring and control of energy usage. Once fully commissioned the energy consumption for the building will be continually displayed in the reception area as part of Arup’s intent to monitor and reduce that usage.

Tim Halford, Laing O'Rourke Project Leader said: “Laing O'Rourke is extremely proud to have worked so closely with Arup in the delivery of their striking and innovative new corporate home. Laing O'Rourke are pleased to be able to handover the project on time and to budget and the success is testimony to the collaborative relationships that have been formed throughout the project’s duration by all involved.”

A mix of space use has evolved through designs from Arup Associates for the entrance reception, publicly accessible exhibition at ground floor and the communal areas at basement and ground floor. MoreySmith was specifically commissioned for the interior design of the office floor areas, which ultilise a desking system developed by Arup with furniture manufacturer Kinnarps. The office floors incorporate a mix of workspace to create an entirely new working environment for the Arup estate. This is achieved by combining open plan desking with team collaboration, informal and formal gathering and presentation areas. The flexible meeting facilities range from fully integrated video conferencing rooms to high level layout and design studios.

Linda Morey Smith, Principal Director, MoreySmith said: “Since 2006, MoreySmith has been working with Arup and Sheppard Robson to implement a complete step change in Arup’s working practices. Following successful schemes for various other offices in the London estate, our design for 8 Fitzroy Street transforms the work environment, creating a crisp, clean and flexible design studio setting for staff that is appropriate for the differing needs of Arup’s varied groups and which suits Arup’s culture.”

Rachel Atthis, Project Leader Arup Associates said: “Arup Associates are thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute to the success of what are proving to be hugely popular public spaces”.


  • Exterior of 8 Fitzroy St. Credit Hufton & Crow.Open gallery

    Practical completion has been announced on the $42m development.

  • Spiral staircase in 8 Fitzroy St. Credit David Kinney/Arup AssociatesOpen gallery

    The design team have incorporated many unique features to produce a building that is both innovative and sustainable.