Our client Marble & Granite Centre recently emailed us this fascinating video taken of their business premise which we are sharing with you 9 years since the successful completion of their new sustainably designed offices. Located adjacent to the Colne Valley Park, the Marble & Granite Centre is one of the UK’s largest wholesalers of marble and granite products. Surrounded by a stunning nature reserve established in the 1960s utilising former gravel pits to create a new recreational area on the outskirts of London near Rickmansworth. This recent drone footage gives a better understanding of how the new office building, designed by Mark Fairhurst Architects, fits within its sensitive Green Belt location.
The rural location was originally used as a concrete works due to its proximity to the gravel pits. Around the perimeter of the site, an earth berm had previously been constructed to provide a ramp for lorries to fill a concrete batching cylinder where the office currently stands. The cylinder, supported on a steel frame, was surrounded by a vertical shaft of concrete retaining walls, allowing vehicles to collect the completed concrete at the base. This old machinery has since been decommissioned, leaving the remnants of the old supporting structure. Following the closure of the concrete works the site was then used as a rubbish dump for building materials, which required painstaking clearance for the creation of the new storage yard. A large Goliath hoist was installed on tracks to allow free movement and storage of the heavy stone slabs, allowing customers to view their products.
Former Concrete Batching Structure
To minimise the environmental impact of the new building, we decided to reuse the pre-existing concrete retaining walls and situate new offices into the remaining cavity. A four-storey building was designed with mono pitched green roof facing the lake to seamlessly blend the building into the surroundings. A natural skylight was installed to provide daylight to the communal staircase. The front of the building has been cladded in green structural glazing, providing a minimal presence at the corner of the site reflecting the yard and surrounding landscape. Western Red Cedar timber cladding surrounds the sides and rear facing the green landscape.
View of New Offices from the Stock Yard
The new office building has provided much needed facilities, such as offices, changing room, a canteen and conference room, to ensure the smooth running of the business. The building incorporates many sustainable building techniques including elevated levels of insulation, a sedum green roof, ventilation heat exchangers and a ground source heat pump.
View of the Stock Yard from the 2nd Floor Offices
If you are looking to develop your business premise and require design advice regarding the improvements please contact Mark Fairhurst Architects on T: 020 7407 7070 or E: [email protected] to arrange a free consultation.