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From anonymous 20th century, to inspiring 21st century!

By chris
York house lead

Originally an anonymous, almost forbidding, seven-storey office block constructed in the 1980s, York House on Pentonville Road in Islington has been transformed into a contemporary, light-filled co-working space fit for 21st century use.

The original building frontage was set back from the road, but the addition of a new five-story front extension introduces an attractive double-height entrance with offces above. Using similar engineering bricks to the main, original building, the new construction allows light to flood in through the use of structurally self-supporting perforated brick lattice, angled at 45 degrees to gain stillness. A cross-laminated timber structure sits behind while openable windows allow fresh air to circulate. At roof level, a new, cross-laminated timber structure, clad in a perforated zig-zag aluminium screen, echoes the front extension while softening the building edge.

The brick selected for the project was a Forterra Blue Brindle Smooth - a high quality, accurately manufactured smooth brick that closely matched the masonry of the original building. The complexity of the lattice work structure required special shapes of brick and perforation to allow visibility through the bricks at the right points.

Working closely with the architect, it took the team nine months of developing and testing to get the strength of the product right. Three lengths of brick were produced and used in the construction of the extension: 215s were used in the building of the chevron parapet, 345s were used on the parapet and alongside the entrance, and 440s were used to create the latticework on the main entrance.

Described by some as 'Hit and Miss Brickwork on Steroids', this is a building definitely worthy of a visit if you are in London.

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