Gibson Thornley go-ahead for ‘urban forest’ within revamped Seifert building

Consent was given by the council last month for plans to completely refurbish Maple House, a 1970s office and residential building off Tottenham Court Road, for Lazari Investments.

Gibson Thornley’s designs will create 6,500m2 of refurbished workspace, stripping back the building to reveal its original concrete structure. The scheme includes the insertion of anodised aluminium wall linings and metal mesh ceilings to provide ‘a lightweight contrast’ to the concrete.

Landscape architect Studio ONB has worked on an ‘urban forest’ for the internal courtyard podium, featuring small pavilions below a canopy of birch, pine and maple trees. These will provide a café, toilets and storage for tenants and visitors.

Externally, a new entrance and frontage to Tottenham Court Road will provide greater visibility into the office entrance. A new lobby will also act as a co-working space and events venue.

Within the basement, a new tunnel entrance will provide an alternative ‘front door’ to the building with bike storage and associated facilities.

Gibson Thornley founding director Ben Gibson said: ‘The proposals build on our recent experience of reimagining the Link Building at the other end of Tottenham Court Road – another one of Richard Seifert’s buildings at Centre Point.

‘The introduction of the urban forest in the central courtyard will provide much-needed breakout space for tenants to unwind and relax, paving the way for the future of commercial buildings in dense urban settings.’

Studio ONB founding director Ben Smith said: ‘Our courtyard design presents a distinct contrast between the man-made and natural layers, bringing nature into focus while examining wider ideas around retrofitting nature into our cities and questioning our ongoing relationship with the natural world. The forest will provide a much-needed sense of tranquillity against the bustling Tottenham Court Road.’

Maple House is a granite-clad block originally built for furniture chain Maples, which later went into administration. The building was later converted to office and residential with an adjoining bridge to a neighbouring NHS building.

Source:Gibson Thornley

Gibson Thornley’s proposals for Maple House

Project data

Location Tottenham Court Road, London
Local authority London Borough of Camden
Type of project Refurbishment of office building
Client Lazari Investments
Architect Gibson Thornley
Landscape architect Studio ONB
Graphic Design BOB Design
Planning consultant CBRE
Structural engineer Quadrant Harmon
M&E consultant GLP
IT consultant Curve IT
Cost consultant CN Associates
Approved inspector Salus
Fire engineering Jensen Hughes
CDM coordinator Shore
Transport RGPProject managers Cushman & Wakefield
Contractor FaithdeanComputer images 4REAL Creative
Quantity surveyor CN Associates
Principal designer Shore Engineering
Lighting consultant Studio 29
Main contractor Faithdean
Tender date September 2021
Start on site date March 2022
Completion date June 2024
Contract duration Approx two years
Gross internal floor area 8,928m²
Form of contract  Traditional
Annual CO2 emissions Per floor plate, the carbon emission rate has improved from 50.62 to 26.04 kgCO2/m2/year. For all four office floors combined, the carbon emission rate would improve from 202.48 to 104.16 kgCO2/m2/year.
Total cost undisclosed

Source:Gibson Thornley

Gibson Thornley’s proposals for Maple House