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| no: 2317-01
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Press kit - Press release - A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects

A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street

London, United Kingdom

Make Architects

Make Architects launches Rathbone Square


London, United Kingdom, 2018-04-17 -

A former Royal Mail sorting office site, just off London’s Oxford Street has been transformed into a high-quality mixed use development with a new publicly accessible garden, by Make Architects.


Designed as a sorting office in 1951, the site was formerly inaccessible to the public when it was bought by London developer Great Portland Estates plc (GPE). Now, two L-shaped blocks stepping from six to nine storeys surround a garden that takes up 20% of the GDA.


From the outset, Make worked with Publica to choreograph the routes and connections, and Gustafson Porter + Bowman to design the garden square. The garden gives a feeling of discovery that is typical of Fitzrovia, and provides an oasis away from the hubbub of Oxford Street.


The routes through the scheme vary: some are wide and open to the sky, entering through patinated bronze gates designed by Robert Orchardson and meandering through the garden, while others are covered and less obvious, with jade green glazed ceramic passageways that evoke the precedent of the 18th-century Newman Passage. Here the bullnose detail and crackle glaze finish encapsulate the high level of detail and finish that has gone into the project.


The proportions of these passageways vary too: one is narrower, with a glass bridge that connects the residential elements to the north and west of the site, while the other is broader. The ceramic archways are punctuated by windows that allow glimpses into the retail units behind.


The building and routes have deliberately been designed as the backdrop to the garden, with glazed ceramic brickwork reflecting the colours and seasons, and the passageways providing a glimpse of the sensory experience beyond and providing a heightened sense of arrival.


The 1,800 m2 garden complements the architecture with a series of spaces that include a rich planting palette, water features and public seating. A central lawn is framed by semi-mature trees, shrubs and planting. The lawn rises gently towards a tactile curved wooden bench that divides the lawn from the planting, its dark colour contrasting with the surrounding planting and stone.

 

The buildings’ reach nine storeys at its tallest on the northern side and stepping down to stitch in with the eclectic Fitzrovian architecture, which mixes Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian styles.

 

The facade has been broken down into vertical elements to address the street. Likewise, the uses are contextual with the commercial elements on the south side of the plot and the apartments and retail linked to the residential areas to the north. The massing on the south-west side is stepped to draw light into the garden during the afternoon and evening.


Brick, ceramics and specialist metals form the material palette, picking up on the rich detailing in the area. It is largely monochrome, promoting smooth, clean lines and allowing the garden and the jade-green passageways to be the main feature. The street-facing elements have a clay-faced brick that is a similar tone but without the glazed finish of the internal facing bricks. The proportions of the bricks are longer than average, with recessed horizontal mortar joints, while the vertical joint is flush to emphasise the strong sense of horizontality in the materials. The uppermost floors step back from the street line and are clad in a dark bronze anodised aluminium. This spills down to provide a material distinction that divides and connects the different uses.


The materials and their proportions have been selected to express the uses of the building. The scale of the commercial element—fully let to Facebook for its UK headquarters—is much bigger, with large linear picture windows and full-width dappled, stainless steel spandrel panels. In contrast, the residential element has more appropriately sized glazing, and is far more tactile and playful. The ceramics are light in colour; some are handmade, some are pressed, and some are extruded to give a variety of finishes, reflections and shadows, but each serves to show a certain level of detail and quality.


There are 160 apartments in total, with 50 different types to minimise repetition and add a sense of uniqueness. Apartments have their own outside space, be it a balcony or a terrace; these are expressed with either a crisp glass balustrade on the upper levels or with rolled, ribbed, ceramic balconies with steel spindles and crafted timber handrails.


Graham Longman, project architect, said: “This project is indicative of a London that is changing—adapting for Crossrail but also adapting for people. It has successfully combined and expressed a number of uses and added value—not only for the end-users but also the general public, through the delivery of a new, publicly accessible space at its heart. We look forward to seeing it evolve over the coming years.”


Data Sheet

Client name—Great Portland Estates plc

Location—London

Architects—Make Architects

Project Manager-Buro Four

Contractors—Lend Lease

Structural Engineers—AKTII

Service Engineers—Hilson Moran

Landscape Architects-Gustafson Porter + Bowman

Public Realm consultants-Publica

Budget—undisclosed

Project End Date—October 2017


About Make Architects

Make is an award-winning international architectural practice with a reputation for challenging convention and pursuing design excellence. Since they opened  in 2004, they’ve worked on more than 1,300 projects worldwide covering a wide range of sectors, delivering 68 built schemes from studios across three continents. Their work is inspired by a singular purpose; to design the best buildings, places and spaces in the world.

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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Retail and restaurants spill onto the square - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
Retail and restaurants spill onto the square
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Planting has been designed to provide colour all year round - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
Planting has been designed to provide colour all year round
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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20.0 x 15.84
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Brass patinated gates in trapezoid pattern by Robert Orchardson - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
Brass patinated gates in trapezoid pattern by Robert Orchardson
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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20.0 x 18.07
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Residents swimming pool - Photo credit: Robin Gautier
Residents swimming pool
Photo credit: Robin Gautier
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28.46 x 30.56
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture -  The ceramic and brass materiality flows into the residential interior design too  - Photo credit: Robin Gautier
The ceramic and brass materiality flows into the residential interior design too
Photo credit: Robin Gautier
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27.19 x 18.92
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~ 22 MB
Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Reflections on the water rill at night time - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
Reflections on the water rill at night time
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - The brown ceramic water rills act as seating - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
The brown ceramic water rills act as seating
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Gustafson Porter + Bowman designed a sensory garden with sound and scent travelling down the passageways to encourage people in - Photo credit: Make Architects
Gustafson Porter + Bowman designed a sensory garden with sound and scent travelling down the passageways to encourage people in
Photo credit: Make Architects
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture -  This area of London, Fitzrovia, has a precedent for passagweways - Make designed jade green ceramic passageways to build on the theme  - Photo credit: Make Architects
This area of London, Fitzrovia, has a precedent for passagweways - Make designed jade green ceramic passageways to build on the theme
Photo credit: Make Architects
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21.49 x 19.24
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - The ceramic passageways were bespoke made and feature a craquelure effect and bullnose detailing onto the street. Rob Orchardson's brass patinated gates enclose the garden at nightime to allow it to rejuvenate - Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
The ceramic passageways were bespoke made and feature a craquelure effect and bullnose detailing onto the street. Rob Orchardson's brass patinated gates enclose the garden at nightime to allow it to rejuvenate
Photo credit: Edmund Sumner
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Very High-resolution image
20.0 x 19.82
300dpi

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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Marble in one of the residential bathroom types - Photo credit: Make Architects
Marble in one of the residential bathroom types
Photo credit: Make Architects
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - The commercial element has stainless steel spandrel panels to distinguish it from the residential element. The glazed ceramic bounces light around the garden while the dark bronze anodised aluminium links the commercial and residential elements together - Photo credit: Make Architects
The commercial element has stainless steel spandrel panels to distinguish it from the residential element. The glazed ceramic bounces light around the garden while the dark bronze anodised aluminium links the commercial and residential elements together
Photo credit: Make Architects
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9.44 x 9.24
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture -  The  residential amenities include private residents garden, cinema room, wine storage and tasting area, gym and spa and concierge. - Photo credit: Make Architects
The  residential amenities include private residents garden, cinema room, wine storage and tasting area, gym and spa and concierge.
Photo credit: Make Architects
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Residents swimming pool overlooking a palm garden - Photo credit: Make Architects
Residents swimming pool overlooking a palm garden
Photo credit: Make Architects
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Residents lounge to encourage community - Photo credit: Make Architects
Residents lounge to encourage community
Photo credit: Make Architects
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22.4 x 14.93
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Press kit | 2317-01 - Press release | A New Oasis Off London’s Oxford Street - Make Architects - Residential Architecture - Detailing in the cinema room - Photo credit: Make Architects
Detailing in the cinema room
Photo credit: Make Architects
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