Units 12-14

Background

The Units 12-14 Project originally existed as 5no. industrial storage units sited in the back of an industrial site in the centre of Belfast. The units were constructed adjacent to a Listed red brick church on one side and residential properties on another with little exterior space between and around the units. The units were constructed of concrete brick with only a large roller opening and some small windows for light. Our client required flexible open office space which could be split up into approx. 500m2 units if required.

Approach

The existing buildings were run down and of a low quality of construction which suggested complete demolition and new build construction on the site. Having analysed the buildings and site layout we felt that there was any opportunity to utilise the existing large high ceiling spaces within the units and exposed steelwork frame and blockwork walls to retain the history and industrial character of the buildings.

It was our desire to strategically demolish two of the units to create amenity space and expose the main warehouse elevations. This enabled us to punch large glazed areas into the gables of each unit and construct new entrance porches given a human sense of scale to the large units. To allow ventilation and light into the centre of each unit we decided to run openable rooflights the length of the units.

Utilising the detailing of walls and acoustic metal deck roof we were able to expose the external block walls and tall space whilst creating a thermally comfortable space to work. The exposed cut roof deck offers an more aesthetically please space to work in than that of horizontal suspended ceiling typically found in office spaces.   

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Our overall strategy on this project was to demolish two of the existing units, to allow more social space and light in; retaining any existing architectural features which reflected the previous industrial use of the warehouse. As a result, the open office spaces are flooded with natural light; bouncing off the texture of the existing painted block walls and steel structures.
— Project Architect
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