Client: Oronel Properties Limited
Date: Completed 1983
Recognizing that they were not alone in wanting a work environment in character somewhere between a factory and a modern office, CZWG pioneered the design studio, successfully persuading planning authorities of a need and developers of a marketplace that didn’t want Treetex ‘Glacier’ ceilings, florescent lights and mahogany skirtings.
The office designed for no.33 Gresse Street was the first purpose-built desing studio in Fitzrovia’s ‘designer enclave’.
‘Confronted with a solid building in which structural changes were to be kept to a minimum, CZWG have had to use their imagination on the detailing, although they have made the most of the possibilities offered by the only major piece of work- the insertion of two new staircases.Here they turned a potential problem into an elevational ornament. The staircase had to be replaced behind existing windows on this elevation, these concrete lintels. And rather than leaving them there with no opening to support, CZWG incorporated them into a stylish new design with semicircular windows.
The circle is also the inspiration for the main architectural feature of the conversion – the glazing of the large windows on the Gresse Street elevation by inserting a large quadrant into pairs of first and second floor windows, the architects have transformed a dingy industrial building into a strange striking presence on the street.The pair of huge two-storey circles that now embellish the façade, coupled with the building’s latent classical detailing, give the scheme an extremely voguish look that makes it look almost like a new building.’
The Architects’ Journal 2nd November 1983