Simon Conder Associates
Simon Conder Associates Georgina von Etzdorf Workshop Odstock, UK
In the early nineties, Georgina von Etzdorf, the textile design and production company, decided to group all their quality control and administrative (unctions in one place. The site they chose for their new building accommodated a farm shed but was surrounded by trees with outstanding views to the south and west over a valley. However, the local planners and politicians insisted on a scheme that could be presented as the conversion of a redundant farm building, even if in reality this has meant only retaining the main portal frames from the original building.
The clients brief was to design a building that would allow them to consolidate all their quality control and administrative functions on one site and would do so in a way that would reflect the open, relaxed and non-hierarchical culture of the company and fully exploit the landscape potential of the site. The solution was also to be capable of ready internal adaptation and extension to meet changing and expanding needs. These objectives were constrained by a very tight construction budget of £35 per square feet.
The scheme consists of the original portal frames extended to the west and clad in black corrugated steel, with large areas of glazing on the southern and western sides of the building to visually link the internal working environment to the surrounding landscape. In the future additional bays are planned at the western end of the building. Internally the building is essentially one space with the storage areas on the north side separated from the quality control functions on the south side by a large plywood structure. At ground level this structure contains the sanitary accommodation, storage, a meeting room, a kitchen/dining area and the reception area.
Materials and garments can pass through this structure at two points, from goods-in to quality control and then back to goods-out. At first floor level there is an open gallery for the various administrative functions, naturally lit by a long northlight and large windows on the east and west facing gable end walls. The plywood sheets that form the walls, ceilings and floors of this structure are screwed to the softwood studs and floor joists to facilitate layout changes in the future. At night the interior is lit by a combination of metal halide uplighters fixed to the plywood structure at first floor level and similar mobile uplighters located adjacent to the mobile workstations at ground level.