One Valpy has recently been successfully sold to a client of Standard Life Investments. This 60,000 sqft, eight-storey building overlooking Forbury Gardens in Reading town centre, is about 50 per cent let or committed since its relaunch. Tenants include H&M, Bullit Group, Rio Tinto, Thinking Phones and Mabey. We take a look back at the transformation of this landmark office development in the heart of Reading town centre.

The Building was a prime example of 1970’s architecture which had fallen into years of neglect and under-use. Vacant for a significant period of time, One Valpy was dark and uninviting with cramped communal and office areas which were not fit for purpose.

dn-a, acting as Architects and Interior Designers, aimed to revitalise this visually oppressive but structurally sound building and turn it into an office environment that would fulfil both the aesthetic and functional needs of today’s occupiers.

One of the main challenges was rectifying the visual imbalance caused by the nine-storey lift tower that sat above a dual entrance to the east and west wings. Although the scale and composition of the lift tower worked well with the overall townscape, the clumsy, badly designed dual entrance was lost at its base and lacked sympathy with the street as a whole.

By combining the two existing outdated entrances, a large portal has been created, with an open vestibule and a full-height glazed screen. This has transformed the building’s entrance; adding architectural clarity and providing a strong central focus that the building previously lacked.

The original cramped, dark and uninviting reception and common areas have also been transformed. The re-invigorated and enlarged foyer created a double-height reception space, with large windows ensuring a light and airy environment.

The foyer acts as a central hub for tenants and visitors to access the office space and the new café. It is overlooked by a shared executive meeting room which further adds to the buildings community feel.

On the ground floor, the existing undercroft car park has been reclaimed as usable floor space, with a reduction in the number of parking spaces – deemed unnecessary given One Valpy’s excellent transport links. The adjacent HV substation and redundant telecoms compounds that protruded beyond the eastern façade have also been relocated.

This has allowed for the creation of a new open terrace (c. 100m2) facing onto the adjacent Forbury Gardens, which will accommodate an A3 restaurant/café with al fresco dining. This has vastly improved the street presence of the building and its urban setting, and created a high-quality amenity for the building and surrounding area.

The office interiors at One Valpy express a clean, modern and open feel, achieved by removing the traditional suspended ceilings and exposing the in-situ concrete soffit; adding nearly 0.5m to the height of the ceiling. Along with suspended light fittings and up-and-down lighting provision, this transforms the space into a well-lit and airy environment.

Tailored fit-out options provide occupiers with the flexibility to match occupancy density with their specific needs. This flexibility also provides tenants the opportunity to create the ‘coffee shop workplace’ feel, which helps businesses attract talent.

By making appropriate, targeted changes to key elements of One Valpy, dn-a has modernised this outdated building; visually aligning it with its surroundings, creating flexible office spaces that appeal to modern successful businesses, and add value to the surrounding area through the creation of new communal areas and amenities.

These wholesale changes make One Valpy worth of recognition as one of 2014’s best developments outside central London and Winner of the Thames Valley Property Awards Development of the Year