London, UK


Our refurbishment of the Adelphi, a landmark Art Deco Grade II listed building overlooking the River Thames, returns the previously heavily refurbished building back to a level of grandeur aligned with the vision of the original architect and significantly improves on the unique office space by introducing natural light through new internal atria

Project Details

  • Location London
  • Type Heritage, Refurbishment
  • Area 39,800m² 428,373ft²
  • Sector Offices, Retail
  • Client Blackstone Property Management
  • Services Architecture
Adelphi overlooks Embankment Gardens

Aukett Swanke won the opportunity to redevelop the landmark Adelphi building for Blackstone in late 2012; the refurbishment was carried out in three phases, the last of which was completed in 2017 and the building is now fully let.

View from the River Thames
Panorama east along the river towards the City of London

The Grade II Listed Art Deco building was built in 1938 and was one of London’s first large scale speculative office buildings.  It is a building of historical significance, located alongside the imposing Shell Building and Savoy Hotel. It looks across Embankment Gardens to the Thames, with panoramic views from the Palace of Westminster in the west to St. Paul’s in the east and is set within the Adelphi conservation area.

In the 1970s the building was insensitively altered, filling in the original light wells in the lowest levels, creating very deep poorly lit office space, and this was compounded by the installation of dark tinted glass windows.

Our architectural and interior interventions include the introduction of new atria through the building to enliven and flood the office floors with light making them more attractive and valuable, the complete modernisation of MEP systems, and the introduction of new F&B offers at ground and basement levels have brought active frontage back to the building at these levels, creating a more engaged interaction with the surrounding streetscape and extending the active use of the building well into the evening hours.

Similarly, the reinstatement of the terraces as vibrant usable spaces opens the building up to magnificent views of the river Thames and the city beyond.

Restored main entrance
Existing reception area
New reception lobby

The concept behind the design of the interiors is aimed to work with and develop the special character of the building, to create an elegant sophisticated brand identity that reflected the buildings’ prominence.

The reception area has been remodelled to improve the flow of people through the space by setting the reception desk back and reinstalling the building’s axial relationship. Travertine marble has been selected to match the existing finishes in the entrance lobby and used throughout the building in core areas. Extensive use of bronze throughout the common areas in screens, lighting and furniture, complement the existing metalwork.

The incorporation of feature artwork based on the historic building reliefs in the reception area reference the building’s unique heritage. Specialist lighting is used to highlight these panels and give an appropriate sense of drama to the public areas.

The restored reception area reinstates the building’s axial relationship, and features artwork based on the historic building reliefs referencing the building’s unique heritage

The construction of Phase 1 was undertaken with the upper floor tenants in situ and involved a complex reconfiguration of core services and layouts within an operational building, increasing lettable floor area, rationalising cores and improving the quality of the lettable floor space

Existing office space
View up through atrium
Light and bright new office space around new atrium

This has been done through the increased provision of natural light and by bringing finishes and specification up to the standards expected by occupiers today.

An improvement in the building’s environmental performance was central to this refurbishment, and it has achieved a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating.

New A3 retail areas created at ground floor entrances have brought active frontage back to the building at these levels, creating a more engaged interaction with the surrounding streetscape.

The reinstatement of the Adelphi Terrace and Savoy Place entrances, which had been closed up in previous refurbishments, is in keeping with the original design and will allow some tenants dedicated ‘front doors’.

New A3 use at ground level to activate the street

The Adelphi was winner of the OAS Development Awards 'Best West End Development' 2016, and Highly Commended in the 2018 BCO Awards for Best Refurbished / Recycled Building (London and South East Region)

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