A multi-million pound extensive refurbishment of Observatory House on Windsor Road in Slough has been completed, transforming a tired 1980s office building into a new contemporary development.
Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure’s ESA Architects were instructed by developer XLB Property to prepare the design concepts and proposals for the project in April 2014.
The original building was a dated, 10,000sqm office building that had come to the end of its working life. The site was also the location of Franta Belsky’s notable modernist sculpture celebrating the achievements of the astronomer William Herschel and his observatory that was historically located on or near this site. This sculpture, from 1969, has been retained and incorporated within the redesign.
ESA Architects developed proposals to take the building back to its concrete frame, relocate two staircases and reconfigure the atrium to provide a more open-plan internal environment. The building’s exterior was fully re-clad with a new glazed and metal paneled curtain wall system. These new external facades provide an individual contemporary design, with its own distinctive character which contributes to the continued upgrading of the Windsor Road streetscape.
The office now includes a new reception area, breakout seating zones, an atrium café and access to four new timber-clad passenger lift core and staircase.
Simon Bowder, MRICS - Partner, XLB Property said “The transformation of the former Observatory House in to an enlarged, modern, state of the art designed building is fantastic. We are delighted with the finished product.”
Nic Sampson, design director at ESA Architects, said: “Having digested the brief from our client, the challenge at Observatory House was to provide a level of quality and attention to detail in this transformation that would render it difficult to visually determine whether the completed scheme was indeed a refurbishment or a new build. We believe we have achieved this and this is reflected in the quoted rents.”
Peter Trebilcock, head of architecture at ESA Architects, said: “This was a complex project which required completely stripping back the existing building and re-imagining it as a contemporary office block which is now fit for purpose for modern working.
“The original Observatory House held an important place in Slough for several decades and this redesign will help secure the reputation of this site for years to come.”
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