Berners and Wells Fitzrovia, Northwest London property development, Berners-Allsopp Estate office building, Schroders

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property

14 February 2024

Emrys Architects complete new mixed-used scheme in Fitzrovia: Berners and Wells

Design: Emrys Architects

Location: north of Oxford Street, Fitzrovia, London W1, England, UK

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, West London

Photos © Alan Williams

Berners and Wells London Property Development

Emrys Architects have delivered a major mixed-use development in Fitzrovia, located north of Oxford Street in central London. Working on behalf of clients Berners-Allsopp Estate and Schroders, the bold design sits across two urban blocks and has created over 7,000 sqm of new future-proofed office and retail space, together with significant improvements to the public realm.

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, West London

The lower two floors feature flexible retail space to help activate the street, and user-oriented work accommodation is provided above.

Berners and Wells has been designed to respond to the historic character of the local area with contemporary flair added through materiality and the articulation of the elevations. The lower portion is grounded by a series of seven two-storey arches clad in Portland stone with a teal glazed-brick detail, creating a grand entrance to the offices and retail units.

The scheme involves a partial demolition alongside the retention of a fine Edwardian façade on Wells Street. Careful attention has been paid to ensure that massing and key elevational details pair well with the immediate context, especially the neighbouring Grade II* listed Sanderson Hotel.

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, West London

A colonnade of white faience columns with teal glazed brick detailing introduces elongated proportions that reference the surrounding buildings. At the upper levels, a lightweight glass and bronze envelope steps back from the main elevation to suit the adjoining townscape, and forms roof terraces set across the façade to provide spaces for informal meetings and breakout areas.

The existing Edwardian façade on Wells Street sits well within the surrounding conservation area: its facade has therefore been retained, repaired, and extended to blend in seamlessly. The fourth floor is raised up in brickwork to match the existing detailing, while rebuilt chimneys act as bookends – unifying the whole facade and forming a visual break from neighbouring properties to the south. The overall approach to this façade’s elevational detailing works to soften any perceived impact to the adjacent Grade II listed pub. A new set-back fifth floor constructed in brick features decorated gables that align to the twinned bays below.

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, West London

Working with renowned British painter, printmaker, and Royal Academician Tess Jaray; Emrys commissioned Tess to complete the public art on the building. This included the striking pattern on the curve of the building and the roundels in the entrance way.

When asked about the roundels, Artist Tess Jaray, said:

“The circle, for me, suggests an infinity of things, including representation of the shape of the world. It is used to express expansion and contraction, to start something and to finish it. Extended through scale the possibilities are almost infinite, so the challenge is to make it finite… there is no sense of a beginning or end of an ‘edge’ in a circle, but there is a tension, centripetal force, centrifugal force, a tension that holds ones gaze.

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, West London

…the development of the brickwork was a somewhat intuitive response, but as always with my work, stemmed from the desire to say as much as possible with as little as possible. That initial element, be it a rectangle, circle or brick, must become subsumed in the whole, but without entirely losing its identity, and reveal, articulate and express the spaces that develop from them.”

The entrance from Eastcastle Street into the mews has also been widened and the building line within the mews has been pulled back to form a wider space. This approach dramatically enhances the visibility of Castle Court, setting the foundations for a vibrant landmark destination – with high levels of pedestrian engagement, active frontages and increased urban permeability.

Berners and Wells London Property Development interior

The simultaneous development of these sites allowed Emrys to bridge across Wells Mews, creating two connected buildings. In this new semi-enclosed space, Emrys’ design enriches what is currently an underused back street. Taking cues from the proportion and visual detailing of other successful squares and closes such as Heddon Street and St Christopher’s Place, the new design reimagines the end of Wells Mews as an opportunity to re-stitch the building into the high street.

Emrys have demonstrated an ability to push the boundaries of modern design in sensitive contexts, creating unique and flexible spaces that are useful to a broad range of people.

Berners and Wells London roof terrace

Glyn Emrys, Director at Emrys Architects, said:

‘We are very excited to have worked on another mixed-use scheme in central London. These are becoming an increasingly significant part of our portfolio, and we have relished the chance to address and invigorate the complexities of the site while creating a network of new spaces for people to meet & mix and work in a highly sustainable and comfortable way.’

Emrys Architects

Emrys Architects have a reputation for designing high-quality schemes with a purpose to deliver buildings that respect the environment, enrich their context, and withstand the test of time. It is this custodial approach to property that enshrines quality and ensures sustainable building practice.

The London-based practice works across the UK on projects ranging from commercial to housing, to education, arts & culture, and large mixed-use developments. The almost 30-strong team of talented designers have experience across architecture, interior design, urban and master planning, furniture design, graphic and exhibition design.

Berners and Wells London property interior

Berners and Wells London – Building Information

Project DataL

Architect: Emrys Architects
Client: Berners-Allsopp Estate and Schroders
Start on site: February 2021
Construction cost: Confidential
Completion date: October 2023
Contractor: McLaren
Project Manager: Blackburn & Co
Structural Engineer: Elliott Wood Partnership
MEP: GDM Partnership / Ampsail

Photographer: Alan Williams

Instagram: @emrysarchitects
X/Twitter: @emrysarchitects

Berners and Wells Fitzrovia Property, London images / information received 060422 from Emrys Architects

Location: Fitzrovia, London W1, England, UK

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