Builds on existing historic characteristics
Sustainable credentials including PV and LED lighting
Holistic ‘brand-led’ design
Bespoke 3D timber wall reception wall
Vacant since 2017, 4 St Philip’s Place is a seven-storey office building located within Birmingham’s CBD. Sitting opposite St. Philip’s Cathedral the site borders Cathedral Square and in its previous condition the building struggled to compete with the surrounding office blocks, and their amenities, many of which feature shops, bars and restaurants at ground floor.
Built c1885, it was believed to be the Provost’s House. It was redeveloped in 1950 with additional floors added and subsequently converted to offices in 1982. These multiple ill-conceived adaptations and extension resulted in a tired and compromised building with poor lettings prospects.
The project builds on the site’s historic characteristics, combining heritage with contemporary design, to create a warm and welcoming office building, whilst improving energy performance and occupant comfort. The original, ornate façade gives the building presence onto the Square and the team created an environment which was fitting for its profile.
The approach to the internal fit-out was to go beyond the traditional ‘white box’ CAT A specification, creating spaces with character whilst providing a crisp, modern and professional office environment. A holistic ‘brand-led’ design approach was taken to all areas. A micro-raised access floor and an energy efficient VRF heating and cooling system improves flexibility.
Ground floor internal works included re-configuring the entrance lobby to provide a generous reception area (a feature it did not have pre-rennovation), whilst maintaining and improving the existing circulation core. The reconfiguration provided this along with breakout areas for small meetings and a lounge area. The reconfiguration of the former loading bay at the rear enabled the creation of cyclist facilities. The remaining ground floor space is configured to provide a standalone A3 unit, accessed either directly from the Square or via a “secret door” built in to the striking bespoke 3D timber feature wall.
The refurbishment works were designed to provide a high-quality internal environment that meets Grade A office standards. This included the in-filling of the lightwell in the centre of the building, increasing the net internal area and ensuring more useable floorplates, removing pinch points on the floors. The circulation cores remain unchanged; however, the toilets have been be re-designed to create a more effective use of space with better quality finishes and fittings. Building services have been rationalised to run within bulkheads at the perimeter of the floorplate to maximise the clear floor to ceiling height.
A simple palette of materials was selected comprising primarily of stone (marble), wood (oak) and metal (brass) – the brass taking cues from the retained heritage features of the building such as the door hardware and stair handrail. A language of vertical lines was established in the creation of the number 4 logo, which was translated into a striking 3D timber feature wall within reception, which was intended to be a piece of sculpture in its own right.
Sustainability and improving the energy performance of the building was a key consideration. The building uses low energy LED light fittings and photovoltaic panels, that are mounted on the roof (invisible from street level). Sustainable building materials were used where possible.