Charlton WorkStack

Greenwich Enterprise Board (GEB) develop and let progressive workspaces in Greenwich. As a not-for-profit organisation, they offer places for small businesses to grow, encouraging diversity within the borough’s urban centre and reversing the loss of workshops to the periphery.

GEB invited dRMM to design a building that supports a mixture of light industrial, creative and office uses on a compact site. Situated along an arterial route, it was important that the building play to its visibility while reacting to its context, on the border of an established industrial zone and residential area.

Through an iterative and collaborative design process with GEB, we designed 14 workspaces that move beyond the sprawling ‘tin shed’ approach to industrial space. By stacking the units on 5 floors and introducing two goods lifts, the footprint of the building is significantly reduced without loss of lettable area. This innovative solution allows light industrial employment spaces to be created on compact urban sites.

WorkStack is conceptualised in cross-laminated timber – dRMM’s favourite sustainable material which can be used as shear walls and slabs, and allows for fast construction. Its structural properties allow each unit to step out and cantilever. This creates a ‘corbelled’ effect to the west façade, providing shading and limiting solar gain within the lower units.

The resulting block form is sculptural; it enlivens Woolwich Road and creates a landmark for the borough. Charlton WorkStack is the first significant response to the growing need for high quality workspace on compact sites.

This new typology has the ability to counter the fast growing residential monoculture, and is intended to act as a blueprint for future workspace developments in urban contexts.