Despite being one of the capital’s most recognisable office buildings, the Ark, Hammersmith had failed commercially. The original concept and configuration of the interior resulted in the inability to sub-let non-contiguous floor plates. This prejudiced the scheme in the marketplace from its inception, and resulted in it being occupied by only one tenant for 5 of the 18 years since its completion in 1991.

The building was purchased by GE Real Estate, Landid and O&H properties in March 2006. We were appointed to unlock the occupier potential of the Ark by transforming the market adverse internal arrangement into flexible office space suitable for the needs of the 21st Century.

Identifying the original 6 storey atrium ‘infill’ building as one of the key problems with the Ark. The removal of this stand-alone structure allowed the typical floor plates to be reconfigured into a contiguous ‘figure of eight’, improving aspect, daylight and contiguity. This new arrangement now provides high quality, flexible space that is suitable for sub-letting.

The existing circular drums have been redesigned and enhanced to create two new full height atria. Located under the original roof lights they allow daylight to permeate through the building into the floors below. A special mezzanine arrangement has been created on floors 7 and 8 to take full advantage of the Ark’s grand, curved, wooden ceiling and the spectacular views across London.

At ground floor a new external glazed canopy, main entrance and reception have been created leading directly to a double height internal street that links the two circular light wells and the scenic lifts. Arrival at the Ark is now welcoming and the building’s circulation and orientation are easily understood.

The approach to interior design was to work in sympathy with the original Scandinavian concept. Where possible existing surfaces and finishes were retained and reused such as in the lift lobby finishes and the signature timber handrails.

The much needed refurbishment ensured that one of London’s most iconic modern office buildings finally meets the needs and aspirations of the UK commercial office market.