80 Strand was built in the mid-1930s as Shell-Mex House to be the headquarters for the oil giant. It is now Grade 2 listed and a major landmark on the north bank of the Thames.
The building was constructed with a grand Embankment entrance and a service yard off the Strand. As patterns of movement and working practices have changed the main focus of movement has shifted from the Embankment to the Strand, meaning that what is now the main entrance is too small. The building also has limited break-out space, and four floors are becoming vacant.
The design involves a new entrance pavilion, huge basement cycling, shower and changing facilities, new two-story pavilions in a lightwell and new rooftop terraces. The office floors are being refurbished with exposed structure and services.
Asked to take the lead in defining the geometry and structure to the entrance pavilion, our structural engineers were able to call on assistance from our architects to prepare a 3D model of the structure. The lightwell pavilions are elegant steel-framed structures, simple enough in themselves. Forming the access into them, however, required cutting through bridge trusses and large steel transfer beams. We developed a design where the pavilions prop the existing structure, allowing the cuts to be made.
This project called on our knowledge of historic structures and experience of working on listed buildings. It also demonstrated the value of being able to call on particular expertise within the practice, outside the project team. This flexibility has helped us meet the client’s high expectations. The project is currently on site.
80 Strand, London