100 Liverpool Street

A paradigm shift away from the corporate lobby

A new workspace for British Land, shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize

"Our concept focused on creating a series of zones across the multi-level lobbies where people are encouraged to dwell for longer periods in more activated and alternative modes of working. The various zones each have a particular emphasis and accommodate informal meetings, focused work, team collaboration and ample space for socialising." — Paul Gulati, Director at Universal Design Studio

At 100 Liverpool Street, our aim was to create a crafted, contextual space within the public realm that is open, engaging and approachable with a strong focus on placemaking and fosters a spirit of community within the City.

Set within a development designed by Hopkins Architects, our work on the entrances and lobby areas drew from the history of the site, previously Broad Street station. A system of tracks embedded in the floor mapped out the primary circulatory routes and ensured the movement of people through the building was seamless and intuitive.

Around these tracks, we then weaved together different functions, qualities of space and experiences and introduced a family of sculptural forms that act as beacons in the space facilitating activation and vibrancy.

To decipher the arrangement of the tracks and key areas, we collaborated with data analysts to simulate pedestrian movement in the main concourse, allowing us to assess its functional performance and informing the optimal locations for these beacons to engage with the public realm but not interrupt the flow of occupants moving through the space.

A family of sculptural forms are the primary anchor points within the public realm, taking shape as the reception desk, the espresso bar and cafe bar. These objects complement each other in geometry and materiality, each crafted from volcano stone, a material that is first carved then glazed to produce a richly coloured, tactile and durable finish. Careful attention and rigour was paid to their detailing and proportions ensuring they are all highly functional but also provide warmth, luxury and character to the space.

Key ‘zones’ were identified by the team, including the north and south lobby entrances, the main reception area and a cafe for building occupants and visitors.

The building’s impressive and highly visible main entrance on Liverpool Street, presented an opportunity to create a lobby with a sense of gravitas and arrival. Unusually, the reception desk is not located upon immediate entry to the building. Instead, a long elegant espresso bar dominates the space which, along with the high tables and stools that line the facade, creates an engaging, vibrant first point of interaction with the building, an antidote to the formality of traditional corporate lobby spaces.

In the north lobby, the busiest route into the building, we collaborated with artist Lubna Chowdhary, to create ‘Interstice’. A significant piece of public art that consists of twenty profiled ceramic panels embedded within the concrete walls that reference the industrial iconography of the railway landscape, capturing it as a series of fleeting glimpses, as in a train journey. In addition, the art work is a nod to other noteworthy public art pieces found at stations, such as Eduardo Paolozzi's mosaics at Tottenham Court Road.

Escalators from the north lobby and main entrance ascend into a large atrium featuring a bespoke lighting installation designed by Speirs & Major. Here, an interweaving of the ground tracks directs people to the reception, cafe, ad hoc work spaces or the lift lobbies.

Our omni-directional reception desk sits proudly within this space, communicating openness and approachability, acting as both a point of welcome and a beacon to navigate around. Richness and warmth is brought to the reception area through the colours and materiality of the lounge furniture and curved acoustic screen. Their position behind the reception desk aims to provide a sense of intimacy and human scale within the vast atrium.

The cafe needed to be highly flexible and adapt to the varying needs of both the public and the buildings occupants, creating a vibrant social space but also a viable place to work, meet and dwell. A long L-shaped banquette, ideal for dining and socialising, faces in towards the cafe bar focussing activity within that area. Around the facade, lounge furniture and coworking tables are interspersed with large scale planters, cocooning small groups and encouraging informal meetings and quiet work whilst enjoying views over Broadgate Circle.

"The brief asked for a high quality, modern and flexible commercial office building that responded to the modern 24/7 lifestyle," Hopkins Architects told Dezeen.

"The building was to be as sustainable as possible with a significant increase to the retail and restaurant offer that enhanced the public realm and that created an appropriate gateway to the revamped Broadgate Estate."