Standing in the heart of the West End is the gleaming new headquarters for engineering and construction giant Arup, a complex of buildings called Fitzrovia 1,2 and 3 which take their name from the local neighbourhood.
Architect Sheppard Robson has designed the extension to the already complete Phase 1. Buildings 2 and 3 will provide an additional much needed 16,500 square metres of space for Arup's operations over six levels accommodating an eventual 600 new staff once it is completed in 2009.
Making the external appearance of the buildings distinctive is the cladding arranged in tetris-like blocks patterning the building in a mixture of opaque, transparent, and translucent glass.
These glass panels are split into two types that have been designed to act together providing natural solar shading. The architects estimate that this will reduce the amount of solar gain by up to 50%.
With the motif of openness running throughout the scheme, the centrepiece of the buildings are the atria around which the office areas are arranged, much of which has been dreamed up by design firm, MoreySmith.
Light is never far away from the workers thanks to the glass curtain walling on the outside of the building that floods the exterior areas with light whilst the central atrium lets in light from the top putting an end to murky office interiors.
Adding a spot of colour is bluish lighting working in numerous hues from the subtle to strong whilst the odd dash of yellow panels can be spotted. Contrasting with the smooth finish of the ceilings are uncoated matte concrete columns that add a roughness to the aesthetic of the interior.
Adding to the openness of the building are the walls of each individual quiet room with glass walls facing towards the heart of the building. This also helps add some natural light to what are otherwise windowless rooms.
Gone are the days of a few fixed chairs strung together - these interiors are designed by MoreySmith to above all else be flexible. Break out areas are immediately adaptable for whatever needs with the ability to quickly and easily change their layouts allowing all manners of groups to meet from small impromptu ones to larger more formal company events.
As one would expect for a creative company, it's also important for them to be able to show off their work around the building and let ideas be absorbed by employees. Vertical areas have been put aside where larger scale images and presentations can be hung in an attempt to create a workspace that is as creative as it is open.