British Land

Circular Economy Workplace

This retrofit for British Land is the first UK Grade 'A' office refurbishment that uses the principles of the circular economy. The project re-used and remanufactured inherited fitout to create a fully refurbished and furnished workplace.


2019 First Prize in Invited Competition

Comprising of a ground floor reception and workspace for 1080 people arranged on 9 floors with views over Regents Park, the project pioneers a new approach to office fitout that offers fully-fitted high-quality workspace based on circular-economy principles to reduce carbon and energy impact, reduce cost and enhance value.

People’s wellbeing was a key focus of the client brief, alongside a renewed focus on indoor air quality, biophilia, and flexible spaces for social gathering. This suggested a complete rethink of the ground floor entrance experience to create more comfortable and lively spaces where people could meet, work and socialise.

The impact of tenant fitout of workplace buildings makes a significant but underappreciated contribution to their embodied energy and carbon impact. Recent studies have shown this impact amounts to up to one-third of a building’s lifetime carbon impact and emissions over 40 years.  Recurring tenant refurbishment also creates significant waste that often ends up in landfill.


Within this context, the key challenge was to dramatically reduce the impact of embodied carbon and reduce waste disposal from the previous fitout to align the building with British Land’s broader sustainability goals.

On the ground floor, the centrepiece of the project is a new ten metre tall living green wall facing onto Euston Road. This is made up of large tropical plants interspersed with bespoke curving bamboo acoustic panels that enhance people’s comfort within the space.  All 38 plant species used in the wall were selected from NASA research for their positive enhancement of indoor air quality.

To create a more sociable atmosphere on the ground floor we removed large formal reception desks and security turnstiles and replaced them with a concierge welcome, while relocating access control to the lifts. We introduced informal meeting and work touchdown settings alongside a new cafe and juice bar.

Behind a vast three-storey high south-facing glass wall, an intricately woven curtain to offers solar shading and privacy onto Euston Road. Bamboo is used throughout the lobby was not purely an aesthetic qualities and as a fast-growing material with a carbon negative production path. This ethos is carried onto the furniture selection, with chairs made partially from recycled PET bottles and new carpets made from recycled materials laid over existing porcelain tiles. All new lighting is high efficiency LED.


On the upper floors, new workspaces extensively re-use recycled materials and mechanical and electrical equipment to reduce waste and the project’s carbon impact.

Old fit-out of douglas fir was remade into new fitted kitchens and social spaces, fitted work desks, joinery and furniture. All were stained with a transparent white oil. New carpet was made from recycled PET.

Over 75% of the breakout and meeting room furniture was remanufactured. Loose work desks and task chairs were fully refurbished with table tops recycled and replaced.

A post-completion sustainability analysis of this project undertaken for the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership showed that our Circular-Fitted approach reused 70% of the embodied carbon within the inherited fit-out compared to only 25% in a traditional-Cat A. This is equivalent to 2.4 years of operational energy, or 1.8 years more than the Traditional-Cat A refurbishment. Waste leaving the site was also significantly reduced

Circular Economy Workplace
British Land
September 2020
London, UK
Alan DempseyGina ZachariasJinGyeong Ryu
NaaroThierry Cardineau
Project Manager: Stace Structural Engingeers: Cundall Services Engineers: Cundall Contractor: Modus Furniture Recycling: Rype & The Furniture Practice