Second Home Spitalfields is a former carpet factory in Shoreditch which we converted into a shared workspace designed to support creativity and entrepreneurship. The refurbishment upgraded the performance of the existing building, reducing its operational carbon and improved the organisation of the internal space through the introduction of new structure designed to enable demountability. The new scheme features flexible common spaces, transparent walls, and a central feature staircase.
Extensive rebar scanning and analysis of the existing structure was carried out in order to position the new void for the proposed staircase without needing to strengthen the existing floor slab. A new feature staircase was created within the void, this was designed as a folded steel plate hung from a mesh of 10mm diameter rebar. The rebar, which is widely recycled, was connected to the stair and the handrail using threaded and bolted fixings. These were developed with the fabricator to enable this complicated structure to be built on site and to enable disassembly and reuse for undefined future needs.
The clear acrylic internal walls were carefully set out so that they were curved to provide sufficient stiffness and create winding corridors with rooms between. The walls were installed in sections and restrained at the head and base using clamped connections within the ceiling void for demountability. The walls were matched by the new façade, consisting of sheets of acrylic curved the opposite way to either dome out of or arc into the building. The new façade, with lower u-values than the existing single-glazed Crittall windows it replaced, improved the performance of the existing building. Erection of the supporting steelwork for this façade was all done from within the building, eliminating the need for scaffolding or any single-use temporary works.
On the side of the building, a new lift clad in polycarbonate rises up from the ground floor to a rooftop café with various new staircases wrapped around it to link up all the levels. Webb Yates Engineers worked closely with the architect and the client to realise their vision and creatively solve any issues while working to a tight budget.