An installation made of reclaimed Portland stone, designed by KPF and Grants of Shoreditch, is the centrepiece of the “Closing the Circle” exhibition curated by Mace.
The stone was retrieved from the original façade of the former 1980s BT London HQ at 81 Newgate Street, which is being redeveloped as Panorama St Paul’s, a highly-sustainable, mixed-use development. The original 1980s building was extremely solidly constructed and well-suited for adaptive re-use, which will save a huge amount of carbon, construction time, and waste compared to demolition and rebuild.
The existing building presented several challenges. The façade needed to be revised to improve daylighting, performance and the relationship of the building to the site. The new high-performance façade will create more transparency, natural ventilation and better daylighting within office floors as well as transforming the building’s relationship with the street.
Early in the design process the decision was made to use the existing building as a quarry, removing the original high-quality Portland stone and granite and reusing it as part of the new, pre-fabricated façade panels. Grants of Shoreditch have been partners in this process – their expertise and craftmanship have been key to removing and processing the original stone with minimum wastage.
The reclaimed masonry has been re-arranged and set into pre-fabricated pre-cast concrete panels, consideration being given to balancing carbon, cost, and construction processes. Some of the original stone was cut into unique shapes that were harder to reuse. The sculptural feature wall constructed for the exhibition suggests a way to reuse and celebrate some of those pieces.
“The recovery and reuse of the stone from the old BT building is a testament that we still have skilled craftsmen and ingenious committed contractors who could make the vision happen,” said John Bushell, KPF Design Principal. “The creative reuse of found materials has to be part of the future of redevelopment.”
Visit the installation in the lobby of Mace HQ at 155 Moorgate until early 2024. Find out more about the exhibition here.