Looking back at 2020

16th December 2020

As this year like no other in recent memory draws to a close, we look back to twelve of the key moments that took place in the world of GPAD, and how the skill and determination of our fantastic team continued to deliver despite the upheaval borne on us all by Covid.

-Launching our rebrand

A key highlight towards the tail-end of the year, the launch of our new brand identity represented GPAD’s growth from its establishment in 2002 to a diverse and award-winning practice. Underpinned by a refined ethos that highlights our commitment to quality design, collaboration and understanding, the rebrand highlighted how our commitment to clients, building users and our own dedicated staff is key in our design process and realisation of our buildings and spaces.

-Solidifying our commitment to inclusivity and diversity

This year the practice started having regular internal sessions that are designed to educate staff and embed our commitments to inclusivity and diversity within all that we do. We work with an external consultant to host our monthly meetings and to hold us accountable for our actions. We are also proud to be developing an internship alongside POoR Collective, designed to offer a young person, for whom the cost of University means the industry would be otherwise prohibitive, a paid 12-month internship and mentorship.

-Signing on to the RetroFirst Campaign

As a retrofit first practice, we were delighted to join the ranks as one of the backers of the AJ RetroFirst campaign, which calls for government action in the areas of tax, policy and procurement to boost retrofit and refurbishment in order to slash carbon emissions. Following this, we have begun weekly sustainability sessions led by a sustainability professional to discuss how we can continue to build sustainability into our work.

-Being appointed to the Southwark Council Design Framework

We were thrilled to be announced as one of the architectural practices on Southwark Council’s Architectural Design Services Framework in the Commercial and Industrial category for projects between £5m and £20m. 

-Chris’s retiring

A more bittersweet moment saw the retirement of GPAD’s Chairman and founder, Chris Ploutarhou. Chris had been instrumental in the practice’s evolution, and acted as a guiding hand to many at GPAD as the practice has grown over the past 18 years.

-Completion of Great Sutton Street, Sycamore Street, and Bonhill Street

This year GPAD had three workplace refurbishment projects complete. At Great Sutton Street, we oversaw the refurbishment of a locally listed former dairy dating from 1886, and the adjacent contemporary office building redevelopment. At Sycamore Street, we saw the refurbishment of an 14,000sq ft six-storey office building, updating both the interior and exterior. Finally, Bonhill Street also renews a dated office building that was extended and made fit for contemporary ways of working.

-Breaking ground on WLS

This year White Lion Street began on site. This seven-storey plus basement workplace will provide 68,555 sq ft of office floorspace, including 3,000 sqft to provide three B1/D1 units. The design of the building has been carefully considered to complement its surroundings, whilst also taking cues from the exposed-services industrial aesthetic. This project is just one example of a number of buildings we have gained planning permission for in the London Borough of Islington.

-WLS published in NLA’s Zero Carbon London

We were also excited to have our White Lion Street project featured in the NLA Zero Carbon London report in November, particularly given our commitment to the principles of sustainability and refurbishment that we strive to embed throughout our work. White Lion Street has been designed to ensure the high sustainability aspirations of the project team are realised, with a goal of achieving BCO 2019, BREEAM Excellent, and WELL Gold accreditation.

-Eastcheap Topping out

Back in September Eastcheap reached a milestone when it was finally topped out. This sensitive refurbishment, located in the heart of the City of London’s insurance district, will provide 36,000 sq ft of prime workspace, alongside the addition of a new sixth floor mansard roof and terrace.

-Clerkenwell Green got planning permission

March saw the practice secure planning permission for a new office building at 2 – 7 Clerkenwell Green in Islington, which will provide 23,048 sq ft of prime workspace across seven floors within a contemporary warehouse building that will provide a positive addition to the character of the conservation area.

-Victoria Street, Bristol planning permission

Rounding off the year, we were delighted that our scheme for 10 – 22 Victoria Street in Bristol has received planning permission. The project will see the existing four-storey commercial development transformed to create high-quality Grade A office space, whilst also relocating the main entrance to better highlight the four Grade II-listed facades that make up a significant portion of the building’s view along the street within the city’s Redcliffe conservation area.

-Building new homes

This year we submitted pre applications for a range of single bespoke new build houses, including a 11,000sqft contemporary villa in Birmingham, a family home with panoramic beach views on the south coast and a number of contemporary homes on infill and forgotten sites across London. We are looking forward to submitting planning applications for these next year.

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