photography

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.

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion by Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Location: Cannon Bridge House (The River Building) 25 Dowgate Hill, London UK.
Architect: Stiff + Trevillion
Developer / Contractor: Blackstone Group / Lend Lease
Photography Client: Structura UK

The multidisciplinary West London architectural and design practice Stiff + Trevillion have recently completed both an internal and external refurbishment of Cannon Bridge House, which is situated on the north bank of the Thames River in central London. As the internal fit-out was nearing completion the client Structura UK requested photography of the interior office spaces, with a focus specifically on the curtain walling system they installed.  

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House or The River Building as it is now known had gone unmodernised since the early 1990's and was no longer suitable to cater for the demands of a 21st century office space. With the buildings central location it was a prime subject for redevelopment by the developer and owner Blackstone.

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The alterations made to the original structure are succinctly noted by the architects: 

'Upgrading of the southern building elevation. Redesign of the existing building entrances on Cousin Lane. Improved  glass link on the 1st floor between the Atrium and River Building. Reduction in the size of the River Building atrium roof.'

Cannon Bridge House Interior. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House Interior. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

One of the defining features of the building internally is the convergence of two diagonal panels of glazing, which at their meeting point command amazing views South of the Thames River. If that wasn't stimulating enough for the buildings soon to be occupiers there are also trains silently passing under the building as they cross the river along Cannon Street Rail Bridge. Internally it is hard to picture the building from the outside as its now modern interior contrasts sharply with its yellow brick exterior and the wide arches that perforate it at intervals.

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Another exciting part of the development, which I am unfortunately unable to provide photographic evidence of, is the new roof garden which provides an area of respite for the busy office workers below. Unusually for a city often hidden beneath a horizontal wall of grey, watery vapour the sky garden has emerged as an essential feature of any new office development. This has given rise to all manner of extra curricular horticultural happenings taking place in the cities upper atmosphere, unbeknownst to the uninitiated citizens of the streets below. Adjacent roof gardens now rival each other for the most finely preened shrubs in an undeclared topiary showdown which has produced hedges of logic defying geometries.

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House by Stiff + Trevillion. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Returning inside the building you are greeted by a central atrium which rises up two floors to be met by an arched, glazed roof allowing natural light to flood into the building. Unfortunately at the time i was photographing the site there were still on-going maintenance works around the atrium which limited the images I could capture.

Cannon Bridge House Atrium. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Cannon Bridge House Atrium. Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Leaving Cannon Bridge House that day after several hours of photography I couldn't help wishing that I might one day spend a day there as a worker, enjoying the view of the trains traversing the river below and popping up to the roof garden at lunch time for a spot of high-rise relaxation among the finely sculpted foliage. Having not seen the building internally before its makeover it is hard to visualise what existed in its place. What is evident though, is that Stiff + Trevillion's redevelopment has created a modern, light filled space which incorporates elements of the original structure, brickwork and steel, in a manner that gives prominence to them rather than hides them from view.  It is a great space, with many additional attributes provided by its location and history.

Belmont House Refurbishment by TP Bennett by Alex Upton

Belmont House, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Belmont House, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Architectural Photography of Belmont House

Location: Belmont Road, Uxbridge, London.
Architect: TP Bennett
Developer: Aviva Investors
Clinet: Taylor Maxwell

As winter was drawing to a close i received a commission by client Taylor Maxwell to photograph Belmont House, located in Uxbridge Town Centre, West London. Upon my arrival i experienced a flashback to one of my previous architectural photography jobs: West Croydon Bus Station. Again i found myself confronted with a building situated amidst a busy transport juncture. Each time as I carefully composed my shot and the decisive moment approached, I would be confronted by a blur of red as an unconcerned bus driver divided the space between my camera and the building. Fortunately my brief was to focus on the facade, which mitigated some of the frustration and prevented an architectural photographer having a tantrum by the road side.

Belmont House Roadside Elevation, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Belmont House Roadside Elevation, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

The site on which Belmont House stands was formally home to a 1980's office block, rather than completely demolishing the existing building developers Aviva Investors commissioned London architectural practice TP Bennett to design and undertake an extensive refurbishment of the original structure. Stripping back the building to its concrete frame the architects then set out to modernise the space to cater for contemporary office requirements. At the rear of the building an additional floor was added, taking it to 5-soreys in total providing 145,000 Sq Ft of office space. The Grade A redevelopment cost a total of £30 million.

Belmont House Facade, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Belmont House Facade, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

The buildings facade, which i was commissioned to photograph, utilities Taylor Maxwell's innovative CORIUM cladding system. Where time and site restrictions may prevent the use of traditional masonry the CORIUM panels, which are formed of genuine facing brick, slide into place on a frame attached to the structure. Belmont House is distinctive for its use of irregular-shaped windows which divide the space between these brick panels. Arriving at the site at just the right time, with the sun hanging low in the sky, it generously scattered a beautiful array of colour over the buildings facade.

Belmont House Roof Terrace, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

Belmont House Roof Terrace, Uxbridge by TP Bennett -  Copyright © Alex Upton

With refurbishments its understandable how an existing structure could lead to restrictions in the creative process, but with Belmont House architects TP Bennett have created a distinctive space which utilises a restrained set of materials to great effect. The building manifests no signs of its former life and makes a great addition to Uxbridge's Town Centre. To see more of my architectural photographs of Belmont House please head to the projects section of my portfolio.  

Canaletto by UNStudio by Alex Upton

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Development: Canaletto 259 City Road
Architects: UNStudio
Location: City Road, Islington, London
Height: 90m (31fl)

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Canaletto is a residential tower designed by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio. The building is located at 259 City Road which borders on Islington, The City, Shoreditch and Clerkenwell. Construction is still on going with most of the work now taking place at the base of the tower where the concierge area is being fitted out, these architectural photographs capture Canaletto's current progress.

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Returning from a trip to the recently opened Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery - which for prospective residents is conveniently located a minuets walk from the Canaletto building along with a McDonald's Drive Thru, a real melting pot of high and low brow culture - i happened to chance upon these beautiful cloud formations passing over the tower. These photographs of Canaletto are the result of me trying to recalibrate my senses after being dazzled by Kusama's infinity mirror installations, which by the way are well worth a visit. 

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

The lucky residents of this tower will have access to a wide range of facilities including what will be a stylish restaurant, private screening room, swimming pool and gymnasium and a 24th floor private club and sky terrace. The innovative design by UNStudio incorporates balconies into the linear and somewhat bulbous chrome clad panels that wrap around the buildings façade, which according to the architects create 'sustainability benefits achieved through surface modelling, with opportunities for shading, balancing good internal daylight and views with reduced heat gains'. Along with their sustainable credentials these panels produce some beautiful forms which for and architectural photographer offer endless opportunities for new and exciting compositions.

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Canaletto is located in an area which is currently seeing a lot of developments start to rise, with Foster and Partners 250 City Road residential apartments just beginning to break ground over the road and the adjacent Lexicon building also nearing completion - for which a photograph update will follow shortly. 

Canaletto 259 City Road - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton

Construction Update: Riverwalk by Alex Upton

Riverwalk - London - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton


Development: Riverwalk Residencies
Architect: Stanton Williams
Location: Pimlico, Westminster, London
Height: (17fl)

These architectural photographs show the current progress at the Riverwalk development situated on the Thames River Bank near Vauxhall Bridge. The exterior is almost complete with the stone cladding looking to be of a very high quality. There is still ongoing landscaping at the base of the tower with the extension of the river walk way being continued up to the bridge. A sculpture - obligatory to all new luxury developments - by Peter Randall-Page is still concealed in protective wrapping somewhere near the base of the building which will join Henry Moore's sculpture 'Locking Piece' later this year. Here is a description of the artwork curtsy of the developers website.

'Peter Randall-Page’s ‘Shapes in the Clouds’ will be installed in the landscaped area around Riverwalk and explores how the sensual and organic can emerge from the formal and geometric. In this version of a dodecahedron carved out of Rosso Luana marble, in which the heavy figuring is reminiscent of solidifying cloud, the Dartmoor-based artist has combined geometric order with geological chaos to produce something both visceral and sensual. Peter often describes it as breathing life into dumb matter.'

Photo Update: St. George Wharf Tower by Alex Upton

St. George Wharf Tower - London - Photography: Copyright © Alex Upton


Development: St. George Wharf Tower
Architect: Broadway Malyan
Location: Vauxhall, London
Height: 181m (50fl)

St. George Wharf Tower in Vauxhall was looking particularity nice in the sun the other day with the clouds reflecting of its façade, here are a few photographs i managed to capture before it was engulfed by them. Further images of the tower can be found on my Flickr page.