Caruso St John Architects

1999–2001
Location: London, UK
Client: East City Investments
Project Status: Built

Coate House was purpose built in the 1930s for the Coate Cotton Company and has an engaging clarity as an almost abstract example of the factory typology. The building has deep floors, big windows and a robust concrete frame to support heavy floor loads. The refurbishment of the building was an opportunity to lift the presence of the direct, elegant structural shell to make well-serviced spaces of a generous dimension.

The existing windows have been replaced with a new design of metal windows with larger glazed planes and thin frames. The opening frames make a delicate rhythm on the façade and are set close to the external surface of the white walls to make the simple volume of the building appear light. A new staircase has been built on the rear elevation, to allow each floor to be divided.

Internally, the structure of the concrete shell gives a simple dignity to the character of the open floors. The refurbishment included new lifts, toilets and services, all of which have been incorporated in the direct manner suggested by the typological clarity of the existing building.