The Victorian Gunpowder Mills was designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards architects for Hill Group is located in Waltham Abbey, Essex, United Kingdom. The mission was to convert, renovate and expand a number of early 20th century industrial, listed buildings to provide the customer with flexible office space, including their own seat. The site is historically important because since 1735 he has been one of the most important works of the powder in Britain. It is located on the outskirts of London in a natural woodland and river habitat.
The work of the buildings were unoccupied and the significant deterioration was necessary to repair the fabric, but as far as possible the ethos of restoration was sensitive, a light touch and gentle. A bay of the building with 3 Bay was kept in a single volume to create a heart for the regime: a place of arrival, connection and assembly. New floors are separated from the exterior walls to maximize light and facilitate natural ventilation.
All steelwork is visible in one simple step at a detailed definition of buildings from industrial sources. New and old metal is expressed in two colors. New interventions remain subordinate to the experience of the former. Planar glass is used to light the key requirements for the junctions between new and old, carefully cut and existing bricks. New interior finishes for offices reflect a contemporary desktop environment, but the references are subtle left of the industrial origin, exposing the brick window arches.
The new extensions will be resized to allow existing buildings and the landscape remains the dominant feature of the site. Detailing is contemporary, with a predominance of glass for a close relationship between the natural environment of new and rich history. The use of galvanized steel and wood in outdoor structures reflects the site’s industrial past. Level access is provided by a small boardwalk spanning across the reed beds to minimize disruptions to the natural ecology created.
Once part of the Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills Heritage Attraction and two adjacent sites of special scientific interest, the preservation of buildings and landscaping and the creation of a viable new use for the site has improved the value of site more as a heritage attraction. The scheme incorporates natural ventilation, a Building Management System, Solar Shading, photovoltaic, extensive green roofs and perpetuate drainage systems.
In a high risk area of flooding surrounded by rivers, first the development options appeared limited. Architect, environmental consultant and the Environment Agency have worked closely to establish the feasibility before exploring various options to achieve optimal potential development while meeting legal requirements. Time has been devoted to developing a specific brief, through analysis of existing customers and to discuss future working methods aspirations for the company and their new headquarters. This allowed the design to evolve in harmony with the corporate culture, while offering new and flexible solutions.