A client's office: 1930s Grade I listed

Our new client is based in Boots D6 building on the Boots campus in Nottingham. Designed in 1938 by legendary reinforced concrete pioneer Owen Williams, it was originally a pharmaceutical factory for dry processes and packaging. Now it has been converted for office use by MediCity - an incubator encouraging business innovators in consumer healthcare, medical technology, diagnostics and beauty products.

The 45,000m2, £340,000 factory (£7.55/m2!) was built to be as efficient as possible. Raw materials were stored on the third floor before descending, aided by gravity, down spiral chutes, to the manufacturing plant on the second and first floors.

Particularly note the external concrete frame which not only supports the structure of the main building but also facilitates a giant single storey cantilever to provide an uninterrupted covered area for raw materials within the loading docks.

The extensive use of external concrete and free-form corner glazing led Rayner Banham to speculate that this was an influential proto-brutalist design. However, inside, the Art Deco entrance hall provides a great contrast.  Two coved columns and a stepped ceiling with flush bronze lights together with contemporary wall tiling are still visible. I'd be interested if the original floor tiles are underneath the current carpeted finish.

Adjacent, is the stunning D10 factory building, also by Sir Owen Williams between 1930-32. The mushroom-topped pillars which are used throughout enable the intermediate floors to be relatively shallow. They also enable a continuous run of glazing without intermediate pillars.

Find out more about Owen Williams

Tagged in: Architecture