The J J Mack Building
The J J Mack Building, at the gateway to London’s former Smithfield meat market, takes its name from a trader who started selling vegetables from a street barrow and built his business into an impressive store. The new building both commemorates great Smithfield enterprise and showcases the area’s current exciting renaissance.
The building embodies a dual identity as one of London’s smartest and most sustainable workplaces. Its history influences the market-scaled entrance lobby, whose crafted linings and bold graphics are inspired by J J Mack-era signage. Its architecture is equally responsive to context, particularly the buildings along Charterhouse Street. It maintains the street profile of the listed Port of London Authority building next door, with the base of the building clad in natural stone and upper lightweight glazed storeys stepped back from the street.
Deep tan leather accents and bronze detailing enrich the fluted wall treatment, creating a welcoming impression of craft and space. Reclaimed cast-iron columns found on the site stand either side of the reception. The original building was bombed in World War II, and a plaque acknowledges the casualties of the bombing. Historic photos, juxtaposed with neon artwork by Rob and Nick Carter, express the J J Mack narrative.
Office floors / terraces
The flexible 1500mm planning grid influenced the structural and façade grids and the expression of materials and detailing throughout the building. Exposed services and acoustic panels are set within downstand beams.
An atrium light scoop and artwork, influenced by the J J Mack brand, extends from ground to fifth floor and provides daylight augmented by artificial light along its eastern boundary. Three generous terraces provide spectacular views over London, the City and St Paul’s to the south.
Cycle park & changing rooms
Cyclists enjoy exceptional facilities with over 400 rack spaces at ground floor, accessed directly from Farringdon Road. After they park, they descend to a suite of changing and drying rooms from where, buffed and brushed, they ascend to the main lobby. The building’s promotion of healthy choices extends to its staircase, which is designed to encourage regular use, unlike most buildings in which the stairs are only intended for emergencies.
J J Mack has an embodied carbon figure 15% lower than the current average LETI design target and 52% lower than the regulated Targeted Emissions Rate defined by Part L of the Building Regulations (2013). Earth Friendly Concrete (with a 50% embodied carbon saving over standard mixes) and UK steel were used in its construction.
The building was assessed as BREEAM Outstanding (2018) with an EPC ‘A’ rating at design stage. It is connected to the Citigen district energy network, a world-leading tri-generation network for heating, cooling and power across the City of London. Smart Spaces technology provides control for building users via a phone app and a 100% touch-free journey from door to desk.
144 photovoltaic panels are installed on the roof alongside 885 sqm of biodiverse green roof pre-planted with native wildflowers, grasses, herbaceous perennials, bulbs and sedums. Bug hotels, bird and bat roosting spaces, and two bee colonies support biodiversity.
‘We think it’s a highly desirable place to work, somewhere that will stimulate creativity. The interiors are flooded with light and have spectacular views of St Paul’s, the Shard and Smithfield Market. Wellbeing was a priority and we incorporated enhanced fresh-air systems, low/no VOC paint, and roof terraces landscaped by Christopher Bradley-Hole. We thought hard about future-proofing the building and incorporating the sophisticated technology that operates it. First and foremost, we think it’s a place where people will want to work during the day and into the evening, when it takes on a picturesque quality as the City skyline lights up.’
Chris Waite, LDS Director
Client : Helical plc and Ashby Capital
Location : 33 Charterhouse Street, London EC1
Status : complete 2022
Office : 200,611 sqft (NIA)
Retail : 5,479 sq ft (NIA)
Terraces : 9,172 sqft
Images : Jack Hobhouse
Structural Engineer : AKT II
Services Engineer : L&P Group
Landscape Architect : Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape
Main Contractor : Mace
Project Manager : Avison Young
Quality Surveyor : Arcadis
Planning Consultant : DP9
Fire Engineer : Affinity
Sustainability : RES Design
Principle Designer : Orsa
Accessibility : People Friendly Design
Lighting Consultant : EQ2 Light