Threefold have completed the new UK Office of the World Bank Group in London, which was commissioned mid-pandemic. The design respects the traditions of the global institution and importantly provides a safe and flexible workspace, focused on wellness and creating a positive daily experience for it’s occupants.
The team had previously been separated across two floors of their former building, the new office unites them in a light-filled, welcoming space. Key to the design concept was the creation of a balance between privacy and the type of spaces that encourage crossover, chance encounter and foster community.
The design is organised around two elements: the ‘Stack’ and the ‘Courtyard’. The Courtyard subverts the traditions of corporate workplaces, which are often arranged around the idea of a ‘prime position’ or ‘corner office’. Instead, everyone can enjoy a panoramic view towards the dome of St Paul’s in a shared social and flexible work space. The democratised layout gives the best seats in the house to everyone based on use rather than perceived importance
At the heart of the plan, opposite the main entrance, is the Stack, which contains the boardrooms, and ‘set’ desk spaces. In stark contrast to the Courtyard, it’s a monumental intervention lined in fluted concrete. Its form and nature reference the Neoclassical stone buildings of historic American banking institutions in which the World Bank Group has its roots.
A simple palette of materials is deployed, balanced carefully to create areas with different atmospheres throughout. The use of European oak in the joinery and panelling is both a nod to the traditional banking hall and a recognition of the importance of natural materials and textures in reinforcing visual amenity and the principles of biophilic design.
The scheme will receive a BREEAM very good rating, the design reused as much as possible from the inherited fit out, and adapted and enhanced existing services. Threefold specified sustainable low VOC materials with low embodied carbon, which are recycled or locally produced where possible. The acoustic panelling to the meeting rooms is made from a minimum of 60% recycled plastic bottles, and all floor finishes are made from 90% recycled or natural raw materials.
Project Type: Commercial
Location: Central London