dn-a have been tasked with creatively re-imagining and extending 255 High Street, a dated and under-used 1960s office building, in Guildford town centre.

The transformation will provide workspace unparalleled in the Guildford office market, using exposed services to give it that millennial, contemporary feel. The building’s personality will be transformed from that of an introvert to an extrovert, confident in its urban context.

The architectural approach was to rationalise the floorplates and add a further two storeys, increasing the total floorspace from approximately 32,300 sq ft to 52,700 sq ft. Businesses will be able to flexibly adjust their office space to meet their evolutionary needs.

The original filigree pre-cast concrete mullions will be retained and repaired where necessary. Within the elegant and simple grid, aperture sizes will be maximised and existing sash windows and spandrel panels replaced with high-performance floor to ceiling glazed units (with integral ventilation panels), enabling the space to feel more open and light.

Of lightweight steel construction, the upper floors’ structural grid relates directly to the existing building with alternate mullions removed to give the upper floors a lighter appearance. dn-a have taken reference from the subtle similarities with the Rodovre Town Hall, in Denmark, by Arne Jacobson, where the beautifully detailed mullion grid is celebrated.

At ground level, the retail units will be upgraded, creating greater animation at this level, along with a vibrant active frontage, and a new portal entrance will provide the building with a clarity of entrance.

Internally the office floors will be stripped back to the soffit, creating additional height and volume for prospective tenants. External terraces on the first, fifth and roof will further add to the appeal of the building and will enable occupants to enjoy views over Guildford, entertain clients, take 5, or meet with colleagues in an inspiring context.

Designed with the occupier and community in mind, 255 High Street will offer an original alternative to office space in Guildford which is aware of its immediate context and seeks to interact not only with its tenants but also with the wider locale.

LocationGuildford, UKYear2016 - 2019ClientBeltane Asset ManagementCostUnspecifiedArea5,179 sq m / 55,743 sq ft (GEA)