IBM wanted offices suitable for multinational companies needing a base near Heathrow Airport. Planning permission was granted in exchange for the reclamation of a large area of gravel pits by converting it to parkland.

The masterplan was a high density, formal solution - a single square, the same size as Berkeley Square in the West End of London, surrounded by six, three storey air-conditioned office buildings, with car parking underground.

We designed a group of three buildings at one end of the site, in the Miesian tradition of truth to materials, geometrical regularity and detailed refinement. An exposed steel frame incorporates a standard casting that connects all the columns and beams. The frames are infilled with glass or painted aluminium panels, each with a set of external louvres.

The largest of the three buildings sits at the end of the square, flanked by the two smaller ones. Its accommodation wraps around a central atrium. This quasi external space is roofed over by a flat glass roof, suspended from a lattice steel structure, spanning the whole width. Fabric sunshades are stretched in between. In the middle of the atrium is an assemblage of lifts and stairs, dividing the ground floor area into the restaurant and marketing exhibition space. The surrounding office areas on the upper levels are glazed to the atrium, from an open circulation gallery.


  • Location Middlesex, United Kingdom
  • Value £70 million
  • Size 17,000 m²
  • Client AMEC Capital Projects Ltd
  • Year 1992

Selected Awards

  • Financial Times: Building of the Year Award (Finalist)
  • Structural Steel Design Award