Central St. Giles won the British Council of Offices' 'Best of the Best' Award in 2011 and is home to Google, NBC Universal and Mindshare. Our involvement began several years earlier when Renzo Piano Building Workshop invited us to collaborate on the design development and construction of their first work in the UK from just before planning permission through to completion. We worked with teams in London, Paris, and Genoa and across Europe exploiting our practice's design coordination, construction and language skills.
The site, previously impenetrable to pedestrians when occupied by bleak government offices, is now a colourful, vibrant link between Bloomsbury and Covent Garden, and when the adjacent Crossrail developments complete in a few years it will seamlessly connect Soho with Holborn. Passages and arcades mark these routes that all traverse the scheme's cafe and restaurant lined central courtyard. Luxury apartments and affordable homes together with offices for creative industries wrap around the courtyard at upper levels making this a truly mixed - use scheme.
Delivering Central St. Giles required our close involvement throughout the design development. The technical performance and manufacturing standards of the distinctive external cladding were rigorously monitored by the manufacturers, with input from the client and design team. The equally distinctive office winter gardens were developed for the marketplace in consultation with real estate advisors and collaboration across the design team, in the widest sense of the word, was a common objective.
“This is a fabulous building and we'll be working hard over the next few months to fit it out in Google style. As well as its size and green credentials, it has the advantage of being even closer to some of our major customers and partners.”
Google MD, Matt Brittin.
“This project is private but when you stand at ground level, it doesn't feel so,' he explains. 'Cities are all about intensity - they need it. This is why I was attracted to the project from the beginning. When we first came here the property was a kind of fortress. Now, this will all change. As soon as people understand they can cross through the central courtyard, their attitude towards it will change; they will cross because it's a shortcut and it is also nicer.”