Sea Containers House
Landmark refurbishment overlooking the Thames
347,000 sq ft
Constructed in 1978 as a hotel, Sea Containers House occupies a landmark position on the South Bank overlooking the Thames. Despite this location, it became dated office accommodation.
Following the expiry of the commercial lease, tp bennett was tasked with updating the riverfront building to bring it to its full potential. A priority was to open up the interior, which had low floor to ceiling heights creating gloomy and inefficient spaces. The facade was re-fenestrated. Extra floors were created with full height glazing, and confined internal walls replaced to open up the rooms within.
Outside, the new horizontal windows were picked out in LEDs, giving the night-time elevation great impact. Two more storeys were added, bringing it to 13 storeys, while new signage was placed at the top, and the earlier ‘gold’ balls removed. A triple-height glass entrance added a sense of occasion, while a new link through the building improved north-south permeability.
Complementing the refurbishment, a new eight-storey office building was constructed on part of the site previously used as a service yard and car park, in keeping with the existing building and the surrounding context. Offering speculative Grade A office space, it was designed to retain employment on the site and add to the permeability between River Walk and the street behind.
Since the redesign, Sea Containers House has been let to high-profile occupiers, including the luxury Mondrian Hotel. The building now meets the expectations of this high-value area and, as tp bennett’s Emiliano Acciarito puts it, “has a far more contemporary, visually-engaging look.”