The Brunel Barge  Derwent London

One of our most unusual commissions in recent years has been to convert a 100 year old Thames barge into a marketing suite for Brunel Building, a new workplace we have designed for Derwent London that is currently under construction on the Grand Union Canal in Paddington.

Brunel Building is inspired by the area’s engineering tradition and has a distinctive structural steel exoskeleton to deal with complex site restrictions and respond architecturally to Brunel’s Paddington Station on the opposite side of the canal.

Until its completion in 2019, prospective occupiers will be able to visit the barge which is moored alongside the site in Paddington Basin. Film, models and prototypes will convey the feel and character of the architecture within a gallery that runs the length of the barge. A large 1:100 scale kinetic model opens to reveal the accommodation inside, while an animated fly-through created by our in-house visualisation team conveys the range of spatial experiences within the building and its remarkable location close to Little Venice.

The barge is equipped with a kitchen and bathroom that are fitted out using similar fixtures and materials that will be used in the final building – for example, saw milled oak flooring, steel wall panels and industrial light fittings. Prototypes of the in-situ, fair-faced concrete displayed on bespoke mild steel furniture give a textural feel of materials, while the barge’s graphics, bold colour scheme and use of traditional canal motifs build up a story about the design inspiration for the building.