Maylands Building, 2015–17
The Maylands business district, to the east of Hemel Hempstead town centre, is a mixed-use area that includes workplace, hotel and leisure facilities. The 250 hectare site is approximately 25 miles north of central London and served by excellent transport links. We were asked to reinvigorate an unloved 140,000 sq ft office building, built in the 1990’s on a prominent 3.65 acre site to edge of the district. A new strategic plan for the area positions the site at functional centre of the district, with new shops, cafes, restaurants, business services, community facilities and open space. The existing building has three wings, arranged in a ‘U-shape’ above a podium containing parking and plant areas. The three wings of the building enclose a courtyard with an open aspect to the north. Separate entrance and reception areas were originally positioned at the interface of each wing.
Working with a modest budget and within tight timescales, the project brief included the comprehensive refurbishment of the building, replacing existing finishes, fittings, and building services. We relocated the reception to the courtyard side of the building, creating a new external space and a single entrance. The new reception space contains café, co-working and meeting areas, and is intended to be a local business destination in its own right. Other amenities were also provided in the building, including a fitness space and associated facilities. The reception roof has been planted with a wild flower meadow of more than 10,000 sq ft, using species native to the nearby Chiltern Hills. The roof provides both a place to sit and an area of wildlife habitat. Externally the existing brickwork was painted with a mineral paint, and window frames and glass were renovated. Internally new materials included; polished concrete, painted steel, timber and translucent polycarbonate. We also specified furniture and designed bespoke fittings and signage. The new reception includes a 30m lightbox that presents a panoramic photograph of Chiltern woodland, commissioned by us from photographer Angela Moore. Maylands Building now provides a high standard of facilities and a welcoming workplace for its new tenants.