Originally designed by architects Foster and Partners, 200 Gray’s Inn Road was built in 1990 by ITN as its headquarters and broadcasting hub.
The office and studio spaces are set around a ten-storey height atrium which floods the building with light. The building is within a five-minute walk of Chancery Lane Underground station as well as the new Crossrail links that will be at Farringdon station upon completion.
The property became part of the GPE joint venture with the BP Pension Fund in 2011. GPE appointed IMA Architects in 2012 to design a staged refurbishment programme for the building which included both the office areas and common parts, reception, lift lobbies and bathrooms.
On the 6th floor the Western offices faced onto an uninspiring and little-used terrace of nearly 5,000sq ft. (350m2). Paved with concrete slabs from the 1990s, the space was neglected and utilitarian. The client asked IMA to design a new landscaped terrace with seats and planters as part of the refurbishment of the 6th floor offices.
IMA selected thermally modified American ash decking that was sourced by Quality Timber Decking (QTC) from hardwood thermal modification supplier Novawood and installed by QTC using secret fix “lumber lok” system.
The choice of timber was driven by the ability of thermally modified American ash to deliver a timber product that has durability class 1, outstanding dimensional stability and is from an environmentally sustainable timber resource. The timber surface was applied with a liberal application of Messmers UV plus oil to give annual UV protection and retain the rich colour of the ash. It is recommended that it is applied annually in order to retain the colour. If not, the surface will weather to a nice “driftwood grey appearance”.
The installation was completed by QTD in 12 days with minimum disruption to the adjacent works and utilising the existing water proofing membrane/insulation. The colour of the treated ash decking was a luxurious mid brown and included integrated planters.
Warner Brothers took on the tenancy of the 6th floor offices in late 2014 and the client Great Portland Estates has used the decking installation at 200 Gray’s Inn Road as a benchmark for other decking projects within its extensive property portfolio. IMA Director Ian McArdle describes the installation as “pretty close to perfection”: high praise indeed when you consider IMA’s pedigree.