Grainhouse, Covent Garden, London – Projects
- Barr Gazetas
- Covent Garden, London
Grainhouse is a heritage-led development on Drury Lane in Covent Garden that has combined and transformed five heritage buildings into a six-storey, high-end workplace for small and medium-sized businesses. The development includes flexible retail and F&B space to support the new tenants, including developer client Hines which has relocated its UK and Europe operations to Grainhouse with a 15-year lease on 36,000 sq ft.
As the site is within a conservation area, the five buildings were redeveloped sensitively to retain their character and seamlessly integrate them into the local context. The design extends, combines and reconfigures the buildings, four of which have been retained – a highly sustainable strategy. The whole life carbon calculation that Elliott Wood led showed the works for the redevelopment will have emitted 384kgCO2e/m2, well below both the RIBA 2030 target of <750kgCO2e/m2 and the more stringent GLA requirement of ≤600kgCO2e/m2.
Bespoke engineering solutions were used on each of the retained buildings. For two of the retained structures, the existing load-bearing cast iron columns could not be strengthened and were designed around, introducing a new internal steel frame to support the additional massing above. The existing structure of the other two retained buildings was justified with minimal strengthening works and through limiting the weight of the additional massing at roof level. On the fifth building, the facade and basement were retained and the internal structure demolished and replaced with a new steel frame. A new central lift and stair core provides further stability to the new structure and enhances existing stability.
The reconfiguration of the buildings has created an open-plan office space with a new central entrance and circulation space, as well as new connections between buildings. Elliott Wood worked closely with the architects, Barr Gazetas, to confirm where doorways and openings could be formed in existing masonry walls while maintaining stability and limiting settlement. To accommodate new double-storey extensions on each building, Elliott Wood used reinforced lightweight concrete metal deck slabs for the new floors, a steel frame and localised strengthening works on the existing structure and foundations.
Below ground, our Development Infrastructure team seamlessly integrated the pre-existing and under-provided drainage systems of the retained buildings. Connecting the services in and around existing and proposed foundations, to create one coherent system. The end result is fit-for-purpose infrastructure that meets the demands of a best in class commercial development.
The project celebrates the vibrancy of Covent Garden, both past and present, and helps secure its future as a prime destination for working, shopping, dining and entertainment.