Walks in two very different locations during London Festival of Architecture verified similar trends accelerated by pandemic in both residential and corporate office spaces.
Image: Agar Grove estate redevelopment
New residential neighborhood
Agar Grove is a residential redevelopment, and the largest Passivhouse development in the UK.
As part of its Community Investment Programme, Camden Council is redeveloping the 1960s Agar Grove estate to provide 507 new homes; a mixture of council homes, homes for sale, and homes for rent by Camden Living at below market rents.
Retrofit of office building
Redevelopment instead of building new is a growing direction especially in large corporate office buildings resulted from worsening climate crisis. Bishopsgate is a complex building in a travel hub of Liverpool station in central London.
300-m long Bishopsgate complex was built over Liverpool Street Railway Station platforms in the 1980s and recently refurbished by Fletcher Priest.
Biophilia, Wellbeing and Sustainability
People have a growing appreciation for green areas both inside and outside buildings, since pandemic. Therefore, reviving nature in cities has become a value driver for housing and corporate building developments. Using biophilia in designing and refurbishing environments is an emerging trend. In addition, sensorial design involving sounds and smells in living environments e.g. bird singing, sound of leaves in the wind, cleaner air are adding wellbeing elements to environments.
Sustainability has been the biggest driver for the building industry some time now, but only recently the direction has changed from demolishing old but still functional buildings to refurbishing them instead. Substantial reductions of embodied carbon can be achieved from structural modifications, glazing and light saving energy sources.
Residential green spaces
Corporate green spaces
Shared gathering spaces
Cost of living and housing crisis together with ‘burden of ownership’ attitude have turned many people to take more advantage of sharing economy. New semi private areas offer a compromise to gain use of more space like courtyards, communal bike and bin storing etc. In addition, they build community feeling into neighbourhoods.
Amenities are a big attraction to get people back to the offices. New space designs need to provide more collaboration spaces, recharging and overall better wellbeing for office workers.
Residential shared spaces
Corporate shared spaces
Recently it was estimated that there is 20% decrease in the need for office space in central London due to hybrid work. However, the reduction will be mostly felt by mid to low part of the market. Apparently, there is still need for high end prime location offices offering amenities for top end tenants.