Work/1 + 2 Stephen Street

In 2010 Derwent London acquired the huge Central Cross complex on Tottenham Court Road. This late 1970s development was built as the headquarters of EMI, as well as housing retail space and a cinema along its Tottenham Court Road frontage.
Orms’ design for the building’s redevelopment was delivered in multiple phases allowing existing tenants to remain in occupation throughout the construction works.

These works consisted of:
Two new and enlarged reception areas
New 5 metre-high glass and perforated stainless steel façade to the ground floor building perimeter
The conversion of recording studios, loading bay and basement carpark into Cat A office space
A Cat A fit-out of six upper office floors
The creation of three roof terraces

The project at 1 + 2 Stephen Street has completely transformed not only the building itself, but also the surrounding streetscape, creating a distinctive new place out of what was previously a dark and dingy street, and a new professional community of media occupiers in the heart of Fitzrovia.

It has also created some truly diverse and attractive office space within a range of volumes across the building. Floor to ceiling heights have been maximised throughout by keeping the services semi-exposed on bespoke floating metal rafts which compliment the raw and rugged character of the existing concrete framed building. Previously unusable ‘problem spaces’ have been transformed to create lettable, legible space from a complex series of volumes.

A lack of record information and the need to accommodate existing tenants and residents raised many practical challenges but careful investigation and phasing allowed the works to be completed with minimum disruption.


BCO National Award 2015 – Refurbishment/Recycled Workplace

AJ Retrofit Award 2015 – Offices over 2000 sqm

BCO London & South East Regional Award 2015 – Refurbishment/Recycled Workplace


Simon Whittaker

Orms expert

Simon Whittaker joined Orms in 2003 and was made associate in 2013.

Simon has been involved in some of the practice’s most high profile projects, largely in the commercial and education sectors. His key interest is the crafting and remodelling of existing buildings to maximise their potential.

He says, “By carefully modulating the use of light and materials, and paying rigorous attention to detail, extremely high quality spaces can be created in the most unlikely buildings. We have recently applied this thinking in a £28m refurbishment project for Derwent on Stephen Street in central London. Our solution has dramatically increased the commercial potential of the site, and  includes the adjoining retail frontages on Tottenham Court Road. We drew on our experience from a growing number of similar projects, including the refurbishment of the former Barclays Bank HQ in the City of London – now rebranded as 20 Gracechurch Street.”

Simon is closely involved in the community work undertaken by the practice at local schools and has been a guest critic at Westminster University.

Derwent London