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Greycoat Stores

Sponsored by
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Greycoat Stores 01


Location: London

Brick Manufacturer: Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC

Brick Name: Charnwood Handmade Red Multi

Architect: SPPARC Architecture

Brickwork Contractor: Opus Brickwork Ltd

About the project

One of greatest joys of architecture is not necessarily producing a new building but reviving an existing one – particularly one with historic importance – that’s fallen into disrepair and obscurity. This was precisely our aim with Greycoat Stores, a heritage structure located at the prominent Greycoat Place junction in the heart of Westminster, just south of the hustle and bustle of Victoria Street. SPPARC’s refurbishment has created 90,000 sq ft of flagship mixed-used development comprising seven floors of premium workspace, with 5,000 sq ft of retail and leisure facilities and a 4,000 sq ft restaurant. It also now houses a feature cycle facility located to the former basement vehicular parking area.

Greycoat Stores was built in the 1890s and functioned as a department store until the Second World War, at which point it was transformed into a warehouse for the Army and Navy Co-operative Society. Renovations to the original red brick facade in the 1950s covered the principal elevation fronting Greycoat Place with bland cement render. This move largely extinguished the building’s identity and sense of belonging in the broader Westminster townscape, which was comprised of countless other brick buildings, including several warehouses belonging to the Army and Navy.

At the heart of the scheme, a new rich, articulated brickwork façade replaces the former mid-century rendered frontage, bringing new life, depth and vibrancy to the historical street scape.

Taking reference from the original historic facade which was all but lost during various stages of adaption over the decades, the SPPARC reinterpretation of a Victorian warehouse has resulted in an assertive elevation which appropriately responds to its prominent position whilst sensitively responding to its immediate context and fascinating history, that sees a contemporary take on traditional hierarchy and detailing. The proposal consists of feature curved pre-cast spandrel panels inserted between traditionally hand laid brick pilasters with meticulous attention applied to align the brick courses across a horizontal and vertical rhythm to create a coherent outcome.

SPPARC’s replacement facade celebrates the original building by bringing back the red brick and decorative playfulness of the ornate Victorian design. The characterful concept features stepped piers in the mid-section which terminate as columns at ground level, with double-height, oval windows that stretch across the elevation framed by the finely detailed bronze coloured frames. Perfectly circular windows punctuate the fifth storey framed by a generously projecting cornice that announces the double storey lighter weight addition.

Aligned to the spirit of respecting the buildings important history, the original internal primary steel and brickwork structure has been retained and celebrated. At ground level, a harmonious brick core welcomes visitors into the reception space linking the external and internal pattern and forms into a single harmonious composition.

SPPARC’s ambitious proposal has re-established Greycoat Stores by creating a lively, welcoming building that holds and celebrates the curve in the road to delight those that work, visit or pass by.

The reimagined building has fulfilled the buildings true potential while respecting its historical context proving a worthy centrepiece to the street.

Sponsored by Brick Awards

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The Annual Brick Awards is an Architectural competition aimed at attracting and showcasing architects wishing to submit their brick projects for recognition and celebration. Attracting 300 entries in 17 hotly contested categories every year, it has become one of the most popular events in the construction calendar. If you wish to sponsor this award, please contact George Spreckley