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FINC Architects Office – Chelmsford

FINC Architect’s new Chelmsford office consists of two adjoining Grade II-listed Georgian townhouses dating back to 1848, which have been refurbished and extended with a single-storey contemporary block covered in 100% recycled cladding panels.
The project included the removal of an existing party wall on the lower 3 floors to create one large building and the removal of dividing walls at each level to provide open-planned accommodation for meeting rooms, offices and break-out spaces.
The lower ground floor level includes office accommodation, service rooms and access to the new extension. A Sika damp proofing system was installed to protect the building given its semi-basement arrangement. Celotex TF70 rigid insulation board was installed to improve thermal performance and heat loss through the floor.
The ground floor was rearranged to provide a reception area, storage and different sized meeting rooms.
An elegant, powder-coated aluminium shop front was installed in navy blue to contrast the buff brick facade and the secondary entrance painted in navy to match.
Additional open-planned office space is provided on the first floor and in each of the 2 loft spaces on the second floor.
The renovation works included the addition of 50mm Celotex PL4050 insulated plasterboard to the front and rear elevations at all levels.
Both roof structures were replaced, enabling deeper trusses to be installed providing space for 150mm of Celotex XR4150 insulation to be installed between rafters. The ceilings were then covered in Celotex PL4050 insulated plasterboard, which provided a significant improvement compared to the existing condition. Externally, the roof was covered in Tyvek Supro membrane and slate tiles.
New electrics, lighting, heating, plumbing, and services were provided throughout the building, along with double-glazed, timber sash windows.
The addition of new wall, roof and floor insulation, alongside energy efficient equipment has significantly improved the performance of the building, changing the EPC from a G rating to a B rating.
Externally, paint was removed from the front façade using the DOFF cleaning system. This method utilizes high temperature and low velocity steam to remove paint, dirt and grime without affecting existing stock bricks. Once clean, the brickwork was raked and repointed with lime mortar. Existing stone window surrounds and balusters were also cleaned, repointed and repaired where necessary.
Previously used Corten steel and stainless steel were sourced for use in a number of installations proposed around the building. This included car park totems with company information, door entry stands, kitchen splashbacks, company logos and laser cut artwork for the meeting rooms. All of these items were produced using recycled materials and appear throughout the building and externally, providing continuity across the building.
In addition to the extensive renovation works, 2 existing single-storey outbuildings were demolished and a large single-storey extension was constructed.
The rear extension appears as two solid forms, with mono-pitched roofs, separated by frameless glass walls and roofs, reflecting the original form of the buildings and allowing the existing rear elevation to be read through the proposed new extension.
A cladding material that reflected the restoration taking place on the existing building was the driving force behind the choice for a recycled product.
Many recycled cladding products have an element of new material added to them. The Pretty Plastics cladding tiles are made from 100% recycled plastic, mostly from old uPVC gutters, downpipes and windows. The tiles have a non-uniform appearance and offer a textured, almost scale-like quality to them which fit perfectly with our existing building.
The cladding is supplied as shingles, with a variety of colour options and blends available. A dark, contrasting colour palette was chosen, to contrast with the existing brickwork and structural glazing proposed. The cladding was set on top of white, split-faced concrete blocks, providing variety in colour and texture to blend with the existing building.
Pretty Plastics, who are based in Amsterdam, shipped the order to site in 8 weeks via sustainable modes of transport and have estimated that 1331kg of plastic has been upcycled for this extension.