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New life for a post-industrial building. Coworking space from medusa group

22 of May '20
Technical data
Name: coworking space at Empire House
Location: , London
Design team:
Przemo Łukasik, Łukasz Zagała
Author collaboration: Michał Bienek, Bartłomiej Karaś, Maciej Hetmańczyk, Sandra Przepiórkowska, Michał Sokołowski, Konrad Basan, Mateusz Rymar, Michał Laskowski
Total area:
Usable area: 1573 m²
Project year: 2018
Investor: EGF Empire Limited

Architects from the medusa group have transformed London's early 20th century Empire House into a modern office and coworking space. The post-industrial building also recovered the art déco facade details and distinctive large windows with horizontal divisions.

Empire House is an art déco style building designed in 1935 by Huma Victor Kerr. Today the post-industrial space is a place for academics and the creative industry. The attraction of this development is influenced by its close proximity to university and research units, as well as street stalls, Asian streetfood, antique markets, street art and graffiti. The medusa group studio, led by Przemo Lukasik and Lukasz Zagala in cooperation with London-based Susan Walker Architects, was responsible for modernizing the building.

duże okna w Empire House

industrial interiors

photo: Louis Berk

remodeling under the sign of sustainability

The introduction of the new standards is a reaction to the constant increase in environmental pollution. Empire House is located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. The redevelopment of existing buildings in its area is required to be carried out under the BREEAM certification system. In the case of converted or restored buildings, this is all the more difficult because it involves adjusting the parameters to contemporary standards. That's why medusa group architects focused throughout the design process on both the comfort and health of future users, the historical context and environmental considerations.

wejście do Empire House fragment ściany w Empire House

art déco style elements have been preserved

photo: Louis Berk

art déco style facade

The project used materials from the demolition of the building's internal elements. New installations and technologies such as the BMS were introduced in the building, and the building envelope: doors, windows and roof were also replaced, achieving lower heat transfer coefficients. Contributing to this was a window system from Reynaers Aluminum with narrow profiles, deceptively reminiscent of the original steel windows, which also guarantees proper thermal insulation.
According to Michal Bieniek of the medusa group:

Empire House is located in an area under area conservation protection. Historically, it is one of the more valuable buildings located in the Whitechapel area. We sought ways to preserve the character of this art-deco building. One way we succeeded was through the Reynaers Aluminum system, which offered profiles reminiscent of the original industrial so-called crittall windows.

zielone ściany

The walls are overgrown with vegetation

Photo: Louis Berk

In addition, the building features exterior green walls, and nesting boxes for birds have also appeared. The project proves that performing a renovation with respect for the original architecture and at the same time raising the parameters of the building to the restrictive standards of modern construction is possible.

londyński Empire House od frontu

London's Empire House

photo: Louis Berk

industrial interiors

Empire House is a five-story building with a floor area of almost 1,600 square meters. All fixtures, as well as steel and concrete structural columns, were left visible, giving the interior an industrial feel. The effect was enhanced by exposing the original tiles and brick walls. The entire space was complemented by simple lighting inspired by traditional industrial lamps. The space has an open-plan layout, which is conducive to the building's new coworking functions.

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