Shad Thames, a street near the southern end of London's Tower Bridge, has many fine examples of 19th century warehouses which front on to the water. The showroom, offices and apartment, which we designed for the cutler David Mellor, follow the tradition of dockside architecture, in which each component and material serves a rigorously ordained purpose. However, just as the client's products add refinement to a basic craft, the building brings city-centre urbanity to an industrial aesthetic.

The composition is simple: a six-storey glazed central block is flanked by two towers, one of which includes the main entrance, stairs and lift. The other includes secondary stairs and services, and the relatively narrow width allows for natural ventilation. Accommodation is arranged as a ground floor showroom with offices above. The top two floors are a dramatic penthouse apartment, set back at either end to form roof terraces.

The fair-faced concrete frame is exposed to ensure that all construction components both express and perform in their carefully orchestrated roles. Full-height sliding windows are inserted between the columns on the front and back elevations. The flank walls are clad in steel-framed, lead-covered panels with finely-wrought joints. The towers have a very different structure of flanged steel panels, bolted together like the superstructure of a ship.


  • Location London, United Kingdom
  • Size 1,500 m²
  • Client David Mellor Design Ltd
  • Year 1991

Selected Awards

  • RIBA Regional Award