London

Fruit & Wool Exchange Pavilion by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

Sheppard Robson new Fruit & Wool Exchange Pavilion in Spitalfields , London. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Sheppard Robson new Fruit & Wool Exchange Pavilion in Spitalfields , London. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

In late 2018 i was commissioned to photograph this small, but unique building located in Spitalfields, London by Sheppard Robson architects. The small angular pavilion their team designed is located on the perimeter of the new Fruit & Wool Exchange development and has become home to a day and night Crispin Café. The main part of the development, located behind the pavilion, opposite Old Spitalfields Market was designed by another architectural practice, Bennetts Associates.

Rear entrance to the pavilion detailing the extended angular roof

Rear entrance to the pavilion detailing the extended angular roof

From an architectural photographers perspective this was a particularly tricky building to shoot at that time of year. Its low, extended profile in context to the higher surrounding buildings meant that when the sun did meet with it’s exterior, the shadows of those buildings intermittently draped themselves over it surface obscuring from view the pavilions finer details. It was with these limitations to the architectural photography that I obtained most of the images at dusk.

Architectural Photography of the Fruit & Wool Exchange Pavilion

Architectural Photography of the Fruit & Wool Exchange Pavilion

Surrounding the cafe is a new public space with landscaping undertaken by Robert Myers Associates. The most striking external feature of the metal-clad pavilion is it’s dynamic roof design, which sweeps up from the sides of the building an meets to form a sharp, piercing point at it’s apex. The juxtaposition to the brick facade of Bennetts Associates Fruit & Wool Exchange is quite sticking, but downplayed by its low profile. While I only obtained a few photographs of the pavilion due to the size of the project and ongoing works surrounding it you can take a look at the rest by visiting the projects page above.

Project Team:

Developer: Exemplar Properties
Architect: Sheppard Robson
Photography Client: Sheppard Robson
Architectural Photographer: Alex Upton

Barts Square Residential by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

Barts Square Residential Buildings by Sheppard Robson Architects. All images Copyright © Alex Upton

Barts Square Residential Buildings by Sheppard Robson Architects. All images Copyright © Alex Upton

Here is another London architectural photography project I recently undertook for my client Sheppard Robson Architects. This article provides a selection of preliminary images I took of the Barts Square residential development, a scheme currently taking shape in the City of London, just north of St Paul’s Cathedral. I say preliminary since it is a rather large 3.2 acre phased development, comprising offices, retail and the aforementioned residential units, 236 to be precise. The project is being master planned under the direction of lead architects Sheppard Robson who have brought in architectural practices Maccreannor Lavington and Piercy & Company to act as sub-consultants on the scheme.

Contrasting the old and new architectural details that form the facade of the Barts Square residencies.

Contrasting the old and new architectural details that form the facade of the Barts Square residencies.

The residential aspect of Barts Square comprises an assortment of architecture where historically significant buildings have been retained and woven into the fabric of the contemporary structures surrounding them. In keeping with the strict guidelines for developments in sensitive areas of the City of London the materials and designs of the new builds are high quality and reference both the historic and environmental context in which they find themselves situated. The new buildings snugly fit into the existing narrow street patterns creating enclaves of privacy for the residents and a labyrinth like structure intrinsic to Victorian-era urban planning, causing all but the savviest Flâneur to retrace their steps as they wonder how on earth they entered the complex and if they will ever make their exit.

Architectural Photography of the Piercy & Company designed building at Barts Square.

Architectural Photography of the Piercy & Company designed building at Barts Square.

The apparent tranquility seen in the architectural photographs presented here belie the hustle and bustle of what is still a partially active construction site. Once again my already depleted reserves of patience were put to the test as each time I positioned my camera and tripod to take a shot, a fluorescent clad worker or delivery truck would, as if by magic, manifest within my field of vision. During such testing circumstances it is often only a split second, where the perfect conditions align and sun, pedestrians, architecture all fall into an evanescent, harmonious synchronicity, before instantaneously collapsing before the lens back into the cacophonous muddle of urban life.

The architectural details on the Barts Square Apartments reference surrounding historic buildings.

The architectural details on the Barts Square Apartments reference surrounding historic buildings.

These photographs of Barts Square were commissioned by my client Sheppard Robson to capture the completed buildings from the first phase of the development. While limited in the scope of what could be captured on that day, hopefully they offer a glimpse into what will be a high quality development when all eventually comes together in the final stages of construction. When time permits I will add a more comprehensive set of images showcasing some of the luxurious interiors designed by Johnson Naylor in the residential buildings, which are now partially occupied.

Project Team:

Architects: Sheppard Robson (Piercy & Company, Maccreannor Lavington)
Client: Helical PLC
Main Contractor: McLaren
Structural Engineer: Waterman Group
Landscape Architect: Gross Max
Interior Architect:
Johnson Naylor
Architectural Photographer: Alex Upton

BBC DIY SOS: Dale Youth Boxing Club by Featherstone Young by Alex Upton

Architectural Photography of Dale Youth Boxing Club

Architectural Photography of Dale Youth Boxing Club

Location: North Kensington, London, UK.
Developer: BBC and Westway Trust
Architect Featherstone Young
Photography Client: Kalwall UK

Located in the shadow of the elevated A40 road in North Kensington is Bay 20, a plot of land owned and operated by the Westway Trust. The contentious history of the site and the multifarious visions that came and went with the years that it intermittently lay in a state alternating between occupation and dormancy, are well documented in an article by Isabelle Priest in the RIBA Journal. In the wake of the tragedy that was the Grenfell Tower fire in 2018, these unused spaces were utilised by the local communities as places to convene, although the Bay 20 plot remained inaccessible; a dark, desolate space that prompted avoidance.

Rear Entrance to Bay 20 and Dale Youth Boxing Club

Rear Entrance to Bay 20 and Dale Youth Boxing Club

Fortunately this state of impasse was to come to an end when, after the fire, directors at the BBC’s show DIY SOS decided to create something for the community in the area. Working within a two to three week build time the project sought to involve the local residents in the project as much as possible, consulting their opinions at various stages throughout the design process. The suppliers of materials and building contractors, all charitably offered their services free of charge and the architectural practice Featherstone Young were approached to create designs for the two buildings that were to occupy the site.

Reception area for Dale Youth Boxing Club

Reception area for Dale Youth Boxing Club

One of the buildings, it was decided, was to be the new home to the Dale Youth Boxing Club, which had formerly been based in the first floor of Grenfell Tower. This was the particular building for which I was commissioned to photograph both the interior and exterior spaces, by the client Kalwall UK, whom I had previously worked on a number of interesting projects with, such as West Croydon Bus Station and the Benenden Hospital Redevelopment. For the client this was an unique project as it saw their Kalwall curtain walling integrated seamlessly with intermittent panels of glazing, the product making up nearly the entirety of the external structure. As with the previous projects I had photographed by day these semi-opaque panels allowed natural light to gently permeate the buildings interior, while at night inverting this effect.

Dale Youth Boxing Club Exterior

Dale Youth Boxing Club Exterior

Dictated by the contours of the site the new Dale Youth Boxing Club fits snugly underneath the flyover and features, over its two floors, a fully equipped training area, boxing ring and changing rooms. On my final visit to photograph the project in the early evening it was great to see the local residents, especially the children, making use of both the new walkway that the site has opened up and the facilities it offers -uninhibited by the anxiety that the site once projected. In the evening the space really comes to life with the gym’s internal light illuminating the building and the colourful panels of the community centre opposite creating a welcoming environment.

Training facilities inside Dale Youth Boxing Club

Training facilities inside Dale Youth Boxing Club

For those interested in seeing the project come to life, it’s conception, design and construction was featured over two episodes of the BBC’s DIY SOS programme. Like all new developments, their is often an air of apprehension and distrust in the local community as to how much they will benefit from them, but it is safe to say from my own visits to the site that these fears have been allayed and the locals, especially the children have really embraced the project and are already making great use of it.

BBC DIY SOS Dayle Youth Centre 7.jpg

In terms of both architecture and materials Bay 20 and The Dale Youth Boxing Club exemplify the transformative power of architecture and what can be done with limited resources, space, and a potentially oppressive location. The hard work of all those involved and their charitable donations have created a wonderful space where the local community can come together and experience a place that they helped to shape. It is sometimes these smaller, community based projects that make architectural photography such a rewarding profession; witnessing the local children and parents utilising and having fun in the space is surely sign of a successful endeavour.

Royal Mint Court Redevelopment by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

Royal Mint Court Showroom by Sheppard Robson 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Royal Mint Court Showroom by Sheppard Robson 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The Royal Mint Court building and its generous, fortified grounds occupy a rather large 5.23 acre site in central London. The historic building which served as the Royal Mint between 1809 and 1967 is surrounded by prestigious landmarks such as The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. In late 2017 I was commissioned by London-based architectural practice Sheppard Robson to photograph the onsite showroom they had designed in collaboration with their interiors department ID:SR Interiors. 

Showroom model of the proposed redevelopment of Royal Mint Court.

Showroom model of the proposed redevelopment of Royal Mint Court.

The Images of Royal Mint Court which I took capture the showroom displays; including 3D models of the proposed development, detailed information on the proposals along with interactive displays and writing on the sites historic context. There is also a pool room equipped with a bar and jukebox upon entering the building. The new development proposed by British property developers Delancey would be an office led scheme with the inclusion of new public spaces. While incorporating historic elements of the site it would also include the addition of several distinctively modern buildings.

Visualisations of the proposed Royal Mint Court development.

Visualisations of the proposed Royal Mint Court development.

Before further exciting any readers over the details of the proposed development it should be noted that the scheme will now almost certainly be revised as the People’s Republic of China recently acquired the site from Delancey and the LRC Group with the intention of converting it into their new Embassy. The buildings fortified grounds, heritage and central location all no doubt being driving factors in their decision to relocate there.

Conference area for potential clients and visitors.

Conference area for potential clients and visitors.

While it's disappointing to discover Sheppard Robson Architects' Royal Mint Court scheme will never likely see the light of day - especially after photographing its wonderful interior, which hints at what could have been - it is highly likely another grand scheme will follow in its wake as the rush to build landmark Embassies in the capital intensifies.

London's Aga Khan Centre by Maki and Associates by Alex Upton

The Aga Khan Centre King's Cross, London by architect Fumihiko Maki. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The Aga Khan Centre King's Cross, London by architect Fumihiko Maki. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Location: King’s Cross, London.
Developer: The Aga Khan Foundation UK
Architect: Maki and Associates (Fumihiko Maki)

Joining the ever expanding array of buildings which comprise the 67-acre, King's Cross regeneration scheme is the recently completed Aga Khan Centre. Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Fumihiko Maki and his Japan based practice Maki and Associates, the building contains offices for the Aga Khan Foundation's development organisations along with facilities for research and education.

Architectural Photography of the Aga Khan Centre London

Architectural Photography of the Aga Khan Centre London

The building is typical of Maki's output being predominately a minimal affair, clad in white limestone and semi-opaque matt glazing, but on closer inspection you can see that it is punctuated at intervals with the ornate. This can first be observed at the main entrance where the large glass windows are decorated in a film of geometric patterns referencing Islamic art. These instances are then further repeated around the structure in the form of six courtyards, terraces and gardens which were inspired by Muslim societies the world over.

Street view of the Aga Khan building viewed from King’s Cross.

Street view of the Aga Khan building viewed from King’s Cross.

The building is situated at the rear of the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martin's campus, alongside Duggan Morris' pink R7 development. Inside the ten-storey Aga Khan Centre is 10,000 sqm of floor space, with the first floor, which will soon be open to the public, containing an exhibition area dedicated to Muslim cultures. The building’s gardens will also open publicly on the 22 September and are intended to act as an entry point to discovering and understanding the history and cultures of the Muslim world.

Aga Khan Centre Main Entrance

Aga Khan Centre Main Entrance

Also housed within the building is the Aga Khan Library, which contains storage facilities for rare books and manuscripts. Users of the library can take their books and enjoy them in the tranquility of the Terrace of Learning - the second Islamic garden - located on the Library's upper level. Central to all this is a large atrium which rises to the top of the structure. Continuing above the Library are four floors of office space dedicated to the Aga Khan's education and development organisations. These include the Institute of Ismaili Studies, the Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations and the Aga Khan Foundation UK.

Rear view of Maki and Associates Aga Khan Centre

Rear view of Maki and Associates Aga Khan Centre

As you approach the buildings rear you will notice there is still ongoing construction works, when complete in 2020 these will give rise to King’s Cross' Jellicoe Garden's designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. This area aims to produce a 'coherent collection of linked green spaces defined by their diversity and quality' and will reflect the Persian tradition of garden design.

Side elevation showing the minimal architectural detailing on the facade.

Side elevation showing the minimal architectural detailing on the facade.

After capturing photographs of the Aga Khan Centre I was just about to leave when I noticed a beautiful, somewhat ghostly projection of light and shadow reaching up the rear of the building. Contrasted against the rigid, angular geometries of the physical structure these soft shapes appeared like a gentle fabric draped over the facade. This juxtaposition reflects the building as a whole, it is both minimal in form and ornate and detailed at intervals, the play between the two works harmoniously which is unexpected. This is yet another great entry into the growing number of quality architectural projects which forms the overall King's Cross regeneration scheme.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid by Alex Upton

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Ok, so i'm six year late to the party, but Zaha Hadid's London Aquatics Centre has matured like a fine wine and is still a elegant structure to photograph. Completed for the 2012 London Olympics the building has since undergone several external face-lifts. Long gone are the wing like structures that once protruded from the east and west elevation - providing increased seating capacity for the events - and now in their place are aqua blue panes of glazing.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

These glass panels once afforded the public a blurry view to the inner sanctum where sweeping concrete forms, enveloping the amphibious inhabitants, could just about be discerned. Alas in one final transition to exclude all but those intent on getting wet from seeing this amazing structure an opaque film of aqua blue now lines the windows.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid 2012.

One of the most favorable changes to the exterior, whether intentional or simply a sign of neglect, is the revealing of the natural wooded surface under the once grey panels which form the sweeping, wave like structure of the roof. They now give the building the appearance that it is slowly succumbing to rust. Given its intended use and the allusions to waves that the roof suggests this is a fitting turn of events.

I currently have many new architectural photography projects to reveal on my site in the coming months so please keep checking back or follow me on social media to stay up to date.

The Sammy Ofer Centre by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

The Sammy Ofer Centre, London Business School by Sheppard Robson 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The Sammy Ofer Centre, London Business School by Sheppard Robson 2017. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Location: Marylebone Road, Paddington, London.
Developer: London Business School
Contractor: Wates Construction
Photography Client / Architect: Sheppard Robson

London based architectural practice Sheppard Robson recently completed a major renovation of the Old Marylebone Town Hall transforming it into a new, expaned faculty for the London Business School. The Sammy Ofer Centre - named in honour of the late Sammy Ofer, the celebrated Israeli entrepreneur and philanthropist - contains many new facilities including six lecture theatres, 32 seminar spaces, a library, offices and student lounge. The projects most distinctive external feature is the new glass and steel entrance which links the Old Town Hall to the Annex buildings.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Main Entrance.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Main Entrance.

I was commissioned by Sheppard Robson architects to photograph several specific views externally, along with some interior shots that matched up identically in composition and framing to a series of black and white originals taken many years previously and held in the RIBA's photographic archive. Unfortunately I don't have access to these images presently so am unable provide side by side comparisons.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Rear Elevation.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Rear Elevation.

At the buildings rear are further contrasts between the old and new elements; in front of the new atrium is a lone retained arch and further down, an new angular limestone and glass curtain wall which nudges up to the original more ornate stonework. Housed within this new structure are the six lecture theaters, the largest two of which conjoin to create a space with the capacity to seat 200 students.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Private and comunal study area.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - Private and comunal study area.

Sheppard Robsons' interior design team ID:SR worked on the buildings internal fit out which comprises new modern spaces alongside retained, renovated elements of the original Old Marylebone Town Hall. There is a level opulence befitting of the schools prestigious reputation and the new furnishings work in harmony with the more classical elements of the original structure.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - ID:SR's new furnishings.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - ID:SR's new furnishings.

The irregular floor plan of the original building, with its alcoves and long narrow corridors has been utilised by ID:SR to great affect; creating areas for private discussion and study alongside other more open, less defined spaces which are more likely to promote encounters among students and hence being conducive to the exchange of ideas and discussion - an integral function of a business school.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - One of the two main lecture theaters.

The Sammy Ofer Centre - One of the two main lecture theaters.

The new lecture theaters, of which there are six, are strikingly modern with wooden panels and strip-lighting traversing the walls and ceiling, ebbing out jagged contours which follow the dynamic alignment of seating below. All of this is reminiscent of some of the grand architectural designs found in modern philharmonic halls and theater spaces.

The buildings scale is hard to comprehend externally, compounded by the many divisions of its internal space to incorporate a variety of uses throughout. The fact that there is a harmony of contrasts within, and on the outside, is testament to  Sheppard Robson Architects careful and considered approach to the renovation. More images of this building can be found in under my projects.

103-109 Wardour Street by Sheppard Robson by Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street, Soho by Sheppard Robson -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street, Soho by Sheppard Robson -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Architectural Photography of 103-109 Wardour Street

Location: 103-109 Wardour Street, Soho, London.
Architect / Client: Sheppard Robson
Developer: Legal & General Investment Management

103-109 Wardour Street, once home to Pathé Films has been transformed by Sheppard Robson Architects and their interior division ID:SR Interiors into 13 luxury apartments, a gym and two duplex penthouses. I was recently commissioned by Sheppard Robson to photograph the road side elevation which features the beautifully restored Portland Stone Edwardian facade. This was not the first intervention to give the early 1900's building a new lease of life, in 1996 all but the frontage had been removed and replaced with a structure of somewhat lesser design quality. Sheppard Robson's approach has been to create a more coherent rapport between the facade and the rest of the building, maintaining a consistency of quality while still being unabashedly modern in its approach.   

103-109 Wardour Street Facade Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street Facade Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Notes on the Photography

The building is located in the vibrant district of Soho along a dense stretch of narrow road. The window for photographing the building under the ideal lighting conditions was narrow and coincided with the early morning deliveries being made to replenish the local cafes and bistros. With several parking spaces inconveniently acting as magnets for delivery vans and other four wheeled obstructions, it was no easy task to photograph, especially when compounded by its proximity to the adjacent buildings. Timing, agility and awareness were once again pushed to their limits, which led to a spontaneously choreographed performance between photographer, impatient van driver and, don't block my way, i'm late for work, city worker.

103-109 Wardour Street Arched Window Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

103-109 Wardour Street Arched Window Detail -  Copyright © Alex Upton

The original detailing on the facade, from the stone-work to the intricate lead spacers between the window panels is now harmonious with the opulence of the newly created interior. In addition to its aesthetic qualities the building also offers high sustainability credentials, achieving BREEAM Eco-homes Excellent for the refurbished elements. With the respectful marriage of classic and modern elements architects Sheppard Robson have created a high quality space which will no doubt be a highly desirable place to live.