The Hoover Building has taken on many roles over its 86-year lifespan, including a wartime factory, a commercial supermarket and an office block. Our renovation of the Grade II* listed building opened its latest chapter as a residential building accommodating 66 homes. The transformation involved the comprehensive repair of the façade, and the introduction of a timber structure to create new homes while minimising the impact on the existing building and achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating.
The building was designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners in 1931 for the Hoover vacuum cleaner company and used as their UK headquarters, manufacturing and repairs centre for over 50 years. Following the scandalous demolition of the nearby Firestone factory also designed by Wallis, Gilbert & Partners, the main Hoover building was Grade II* listed in 1980 and was acquired by Tesco in the early 90s. Unused for over a decade the building had lain dormant waiting for a new incarnation.
The scheme restores the building and provides 66 new homes within the existing fabric, acknowledging the need for more housing in our capital. This demanded a meticulous analysis and detailed understanding of the existing structure – a reinforced concrete beam and thin slab construction with very little spare capacity. The insertion of new prefabricated timber trusses within partitions transfers additional load to the existing concrete frame, maximising the limited space available and avoiding costly, time-consuming and carbon-intensive strengthening of the existing foundations and superstructure. The prefabricated timber trusses and roof cassettes were sustainably sourced, built off-site and lifted into place to minimise the building’s exposure to the elements.
Renovation of the Hoover Building is designed to meet and exceed the 35% target carbon reduction set out in the London Borough of Ealing planning requirements and has been awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating with a score of 77.2%. Our approach centred on the re-use of the existing fabric, minimising alteration and material use as far as possible.
The new lightweight structure is almost entirely timber, made from standard lumbar sizes and engineered to minimise wastage. Walls were lined internally with plasterboard faced insulation, new insulation was introduced below floors and the new roof acts as a highly performing cap to the building. Windows were lined with a solar film and secondary glazing to improve their thermal and acoustic properties.
Planning restrictions and the constraints of working within a Grade II* listed building prevented us from generating renewable energy on site on the scale required to power the development. The focus was instead on creating highly air tight dwellings with whole house ventilation and heat recovery systems and energy efficient appliances (supplied by Hoover) with heating and cooling driven by air source heat pumps. Working closely as a transdisciplinary team allowed us to achieve an efficient scheme within an existing structure far less rational than its exterior may suggest.
- BREEAM Awards 2019, Home (Post Construction), winner, 3 2019
- RICS Awards 2019, Residential, shortlisted, 2 2019
- RICS Awards 2019, Design Through Innovation, winner, 2 2019
- Building Awards 2018, Refurbishment Project of the Year, shortlisted, 8 2018
- Structural Awards 2018, Heritage, winner, 8 2018
- AJ Retrofit Awards 2018, Llisted Building Over £5m, shortlisted, 7 2018
- Structural Timber Awards 2018, Private Housing Project of the Year, shortlisted, 6 2018