Architecture

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“A Vision for a Modern Office”

June 21, 2024

Apption Labs: A Vision for Modern Office Space

By MWK Architects

How do you seamlessly connect an existing building in operation and a derelict plant hire warehouse to transform them into bespoke and modern office spaces? This was the exciting challenge presented to MWK Architects by Apption Labs.

A Bold Collaboration

MWK Architects was appointed for a second time by Apption Labs, a tech startup renowned for their innovative food cooking probes. Previously, in 2019, MWK Architects had refurbished Apption Labs’ current offices at No. 60, Commercial Square, Leicester. By the end of 2020, Apption Labs envisioned an expansion into the adjacent building at 70, Commercial Square.

The Vision

Apption Labs tasked MWK Architects with creating a design that would convert the new building into additional office space and warehousing, preparing for an anticipated 40 new employees. The specifications were to mirror those of 66 Commercial Square, ensuring a harmonious continuity between both buildings. To link both buildings, MWK proposed and built a high-level bridge that would also be a feature of the design.

Transforming Spaces

The new space was designed to cater to the dynamic needs of Apption Labs. It features predominantly office areas, meeting rooms, and social spaces. The warehouse was envisioned as a versatile area adaptable for laboratories, offices, and storage. The design also included a lift serving all floors and the roof, culminating in a roof terrace for social events, complete with a lush green roof perimeter to enhance the ambiance. MWK Architects designed a new stair core that incorporates the multiple levels and the access between the bridge and No.70 with a bold oak and steel staircase. The warehouse received a top-to-bottom transformation, featuring a new roof, glazed meeting rooms, and a first-floor staff restaurant and meeting rooms.

Overcoming Challenges

Despite numerous challenges, MWK Architects adopted a pragmatic approach and harnessed the unique characteristics of the existing structures to create a design that truly embodies the innovative spirit of Apption Labs.

Before the Transformation

The original building was a two-storey masonry and steel-framed structure from the 1970s, in dire need of renovation. The ground floor, with its tall ceilings, was initially designed for warehousing and later used as a showroom by a tool hire company, with the rear serving as a warehouse. Above, a narrow, flat-roofed open-plan office and toilet were accessible via substandard stairs. The rear brick warehouse, with a flat roof supported by a timber and steel structure, was in poor condition and needed immediate replacement. Additionally, a workshop area to the side of the warehouse required significant upgrades to house any possible office operations, those improvements included thermal performance improvements, allowing natural light and ventilation into the space, and improving the overall quality of the building envelope.

A New Beginning

Through thorough design and supervision, MWK Architects transformed the space into a vibrant, modern office environment that not only meets Apption Labs’ current needs but also paves the way for future growth. This project is a testament to the power of innovative design and strategic collaboration in creating spaces where businesses can thrive.

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