Why re‐using existing buildings will help towards creating a more sustainable future and greener workspaces
We started working with Uncommon on modular additions to their existing buildings for a variety of reasons. It soon became clear that it was the quickest and cleanest way to provide high‐quality spaces without demolishing or extending their developments in the traditional sense. Our experience of working with this particular client has convinced us that it is the future of office design in general: flexible, adaptable and better for our health and the environment.
Uncommon specialise in SME businesses, known for providing workspace environments, which offer higher standards of wellbeing and comfort. Using modular office units allow for future plans to upgrade multiple sites for the company and go a step beyond the traditional cellular division inside large floorplates.
An individual pod provides businesses with a sense of ownership within a development – your own front door so to speak. The privacy these offer has two clear advantages in our current times. A lot of tech and creative start‐ups cherish their IP and so teams can meet in these units with confidence. Also, in a post‐Covid‐19 landscape, it’s much more reassuring for returning employees to know who they are sharing a space with.
From a commercial standpoint, modular architecture is a great way to unlock the value of assets. We can add units to courtyards (such as Uncommon Fulham) or even onto rooftops. They present lightweight additions and everything is built in the factory, which is then just craned on to site and hooked up to the services.
This means that we minimise disruption to current tenants and we can be done in 4‐5 days. It is the best method for augmenting existing buildings but it can also be applied to meanwhile spaces. So, we could use modular offices to retool the city on small or awkward sites and they can be disassembled and moved to a new location when an area is ready for a more permanent project.
The controlled environment of the factory also makes it much easier to create better architecture when compared to a messy building site. Clients like Uncommon want the best kind of interior spaces for workers and this often involves daylight, air‐filtration and other aspects which we can manage through design and fabrication processes.
Reducing waste is better for the environment and so is re‐using existing buildings so we feel comfortable that we can aim for a more sustainable future for the creation of new offices. When you add up the economic, aesthetic, experiential and environmental benefits of using modular architecture for offices, it’s hard to think why it isn’t being adopted across the board immediately. We hope that as more such projects are completed it will drive the whole industry in a better direction.
Images courtesy of Cousins & Cousins