The 4-storey Gateway West is an angular but intimate brick and ceramic building constructed in the new business district at White City Place of life sciences, technology, media and education enterprises in London. The building sits on the 1908 Olympic Great Stadium site, which accommodated the former BBC Media Village. Gateway West was designed by architecture and urban design practice Gort Scott.
Gateway West sits among its larger neighbours to anchor the west side of the Gateway Site and was conceived of as a ‘rock’ with a sculpted presence, in contrast to the surrounding commercial buildings, with expressed frame articulation. As such, its form is angled to respond to its context and the masonry cladding is designed to have a unifying appearance. The brick and ceramic exterior is solid and robust, the bricks selected for their colouring and slight irregularities in texture, and the variations in brick bonds add to the tactile interest. The material and detailing form a deliberate contrast to the metal and glass cladding systems on buildings to either side. To complete the project, Gort Scott needed to find 2,000 solid brick specials for the ‘hit-and-miss’ brickwork, with 115,000 facing bricks. Enter MCPH021!
Unique for this project was the intricate brick detailing required, with ‘hit and miss’ brickwork projecting bricks to create texture across the building. The facades had to be modelled to respond to context and to the building’s use. A predominantly brick base with limited, flush windows had to be created to conceal the large delivery bay and vehicular lifts that serve the adjacent Gateway Central. On the upper office floors, brickwork piers are broken by deeply recessed windows and the more colourful, reflective surface of the ceramic cladding.
A cantilever marks the entrance to the double-height reception, and projecting fins highlight the more public ends of the building. A small terrace overlooks the crossroads from the top floor, and a large, circular window addresses the long approach from White City station. The building is entered from a lush new public garden with secluded space and a quiet pedestrian route at the back to the rest of the site.
The final brick was produced in UK format and included purpose-made specials in a specific shade of purple. Modular Clay Products worked with Scott to find the right brick and used their specialist knowledge to find a manufacturer who could make a special brick to meet Scott’s needs. As a result, Modular Clay Products were able to provide thousands of bricks with the required colour and texture.
Thanks to the working partnership, the project was completed to huge success in 2022. The design was planned to obtain a BREEAM Excellent rating and used passive design principles to work towards a truly sustainable place of work. All materials used are robust and driven by ‘long life, loose fit principles’. Recycled materials have been promoted, embodied carbon reduced, and the facade openings optimised to balance daylighting, insulation and overheating. The resulting energy savings go well beyond those prescribed by building regulations. Increasing ventilation, automated doors, and flexible interior settings have been key elements to make the office easily adaptable to accommodate health and safety post-pandemic. The scheme was entered for a number of honours, including a brickwork award by the brickwork subcontractors Lyons and Annoot.