HUT modernizes art deco building in East London

Gilray House on City Road was built in the 1930s in an industrial Art Deco style as a garment factory – evident by the extensive use of Crittall windows on three of its elevations to allow ample light into the factory floor.

The building was later converted into a bank with offices above, which also housed a vault and vault in the basement.

HUT was retained by GAW Capital Advisors UK to deliver a retrofit and two storey extension to the building from a previously approved master plan. In addition to the KAT-A refurbishment of the entire building, the scope of services included a curved attic extension on top of a single-storey extension.

The aim was to preserve and convert the existing building structure while at the same time maximizing the usable space for office space. An existing core was retained and a new elevator was added to allow level access to all floors. Other features present and preserved include the original staircase, wrought iron balustrades and metal plaques.

Much of the original concrete structure has also been retained and the Crittall windows have been refinished. The existing moldings and architectural metalwork on the building’s front facade were revised and replicated to preserve the building’s history while increasing its scale to fit the area’s evolving streetscape.

The building was repainted Steel Blue on the outside to match the original 1930’s Crittall window frame color, while contrasting signage and a curved roof shape were added to complement the historic features.

Architect’s perspective

We inherited the project with an existing building permit notice that already laid down the principle of an additional two-story massing and a curved roof shape. We approached the project with the ideas of reuse and redesign as our main driving forces and resubmitted an application that retained many of the existing internal features. This allowed for a much less invasive system that delivered an equivalent result while reducing the amount of construction waste that would end up in landfill.

The curved roof is designed to recede into the skyline and the choice of mill finished standing seam cladding adds to the effect, reflecting the shifting tones of the sky to stealthily fade into the background. Large-scale cranked glazing with ingenious glass-to-glass connections breaks through the roof and floods the attic with natural light, creating a connection with nature and its elements and bringing a sense of joy to the end user.

The building materials used outside have been carefully chosen to be robust and withstand the ravages of time, while inside the existing fabric has been rejuvenated to extend its life beyond its original purpose.
Todd Courtney and Shashi Abayasekera, HÛT

Customer’s perspective

We acquired the building in 2017 with the assessment that the building has great potential in terms of location, accessibility and renovation options. Gilray House is just two minutes from Old Street Roundabout, which is currently undergoing a major development – known as ‘London’s Silicon Valley’, home to technology companies.

We envisioned that the building would reposition itself nicely if we efficiently refurbished it by eliminating one of the stairs, reconfiguring the floor slab, removing the roof and adding two floors, widening the office entrance and the building with its dark Painted exterior breathe a brand new life blue. We wanted the building to have its own characteristics and HUT helped us through the process by creating a new design but also trying to keep the building’s original features: the exposed ceiling, the sandblasted concrete columns, the original ones Crittall windows etc.

We are very excited and satisfied with the outcome of the project in which we have added value and breathed new life into the building. It blends in well with the other buildings in the neighborhood and stands out from the City Road.
Goodwin Gaw, Managing Director, Gaw Capital

project data

completion date March 2022
gross internal area 1,989 sqm
Gross floor area (inside + outside). 2,208 sqm
Contract form or procurement route design and build
construction costs Not disclosed
architect HUT
client GAW Capital Advisors (UK)
structural engineer Ingleton Wood
M&E consultant Textured Tone London, CAG, Climate FM
firefighting engineer Cunning fire
planning consultant CBRE
branding Socrates Communications
project manager John Rowan and associates
main designer Riverbank
Licensed building inspector Riverbank
prime contractor Structure tone London

environmental performance data

Percentage of floor area with daylight >2% Not available
Percentage of floor area with daylight >5% Not available
Annual tap water consumption Not available
Heating and hot water consumption 12 kWh/m²/year
Total area weighted U-value
Not available
shape life Not available
Embodied/Lifetime Carbon Not available
Annual CO2 emissions 33 kgCO2eq/m²

Leave a Comment