Waugh Thistleton Architects

North London Office 1
North London Office 2


July 2024

RIBA workstages


In 2022 Waugh Thistleton Architects were one of four architectural teams invited to submit an RIBA Stage 1 design proposal for an office building in North London. We were approached for our expertise in timber architecture, the client stipulating that the nine-storey building be predominantly made of wood. We were excited to collaborate with Vancouver based firm Michael Green Architecture, long term friends and fellow explorers in timber. 

Our design is predicated on a Glulam frame and CLT slabs with an encapsulated CLT core. The central core mediates a kink in the site resolving the geometry of the plot, which is complimented by an exposed feature stair to animate the street elevation. This creates a concave elevation to the east that frames an intimate square flanked by natural greenery, helping to moderate the building's overall scale.

A colonnade at ground level on one axis defines the edge of a larger public square, giving the building a civic presence, and facilitating access through the site to the park beyond. The design also engages the natural landscape on the roof terrace, which provides views of the park beyond and provides variation in the skyline.   

Our competition proposal demonstrates how mass timber can be utilised to deliver a building of exceptional aesthetic quality and environmental conscientiousness, delivering a generous square footage of efficient and flexible workspace that can be tailored to client and tenant needs as the brief evolves. Occupier wellbeing has been carefully considered, with connections to nature and opportunities for movement and activity embedded within the design and celebrated in the architecture of shared spaces and communal stairs.

The first floor is conceived as dedicated shared amenity space that will include inclusive and accessible spaces for building tenants, and over time, the wider emerging community on the wider site. We have placed shared amenity spaces at the heart of our design concept in the belief that innovative, growing businesses will be attracted to a building where spaces that encourage the exchange of ideas and knowledge exchange are actively provided.  

The client shared an ambition for sustainability that we were enthused to meet. Material sufficiency has been prioritised to ensure value and to mitigate the embodied carbon associated with construction. The facade is environmentally responsive to solar impact on each orientation, with external fins of varying depths and opacity to manage solar gain. A Corten steel finish facade acts as a lightweight, reusable, recyclable, and materially efficient veil over the building frame. The structural design also enables winter gardens and double-height internal spaces to be added later by the tenants.   

Our design is contextual, celebrating its strategic position at the gateway to the emerging site masterplan; it defines and informs the external public realm and responds to the environmental and contextual opportunities of the site. The resulting architecture is derived from the expression of this material and celebrates the natural beauty of the timber at every opportunity.