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Hertfordshire, UK

Client Panattoni

Form of Contract Design & Build

Size 12820.6m2  (138,000 sqft)

Year of Completion 2022

BREEAM Very Good


138,000 sqft warehouse and office space on the site of the first Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, home to icons of the golden age of film, including the 1958 Inn of the Sixth Happiness and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The 3.593 hectare campus contains four units with office space, totalling 328,053 sqft. SGP’s design includes service yards and car parking with spaces for electric vehicles and cycles and an unusual boundary treatment that mixes security with references to the site’s past icons.

For Unit 2, SGP amended the classic Panattoni livery of contemporary neutral monochromatic colours to respond to the unit’s prominence on the key local route of Elstree Way.

On the high profile elevation facing the busy Elstree Way, SGP’s design uses a series of elegant vertical details that create a colonnade formed at seemingly random centres. These take on a dynamic, contemporary architectural form, breaking up the mass into a pattern of materials on a more human and vernacular scale. This contemporary reflection of the Art Deco style balances rustic metallic cladding and boxed out profiles with the softness of the brick slips and adds a more finished and aesthetically pleasing tinted curtain wall glazing. Colourways in the Panattoni corporate colours of navy blue and white with white feature banding at roof level complete the look.

Although this is a very different exterior style to a normal warehouse, it still needs to be a practical working environment. We used our skills and knowledge of the sector to make sure the area worked for the tenant, including the site’s on-going maintenance. The colonnade has been formed in-situ by boxed out cladding profiles with a 2m section at the base which can be easily repaired and recycled should they become damaged by operating procedures.

The campus has achieved BREEAM “Very Good” and includes PV panels on the roofs, EV charging points, cycle storage and external lighting running with timers and motion sensors to minimise unwanted light spill.

The boundary treatment was a similar balance of practical security with a strong film-based narrative. SGP chose a semi-transparent fence, whose partial views through to the site diffuses its rigidity but still offers security and clear demarcation. Panels of double skinned copper and a Corten material create 3D effect movie stills of famous actors, movies and quotes throughout decades. Glimpses of Clint Eastwood, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Elizabeth Taylor and others deliver a snapshot timeline of the studios, for visitors and locals to connect to history of site.

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