Sea Containers was designed in 1974 as a waterfront hotel to promote British tourism, but converted to office use upon completion. In 2013 the studio won an invited competition in conjunction with workplace specialists BDG to create 20,000 sqm of workspace for a group of ten media companies.
By locating working space in the lower parts of the building, the upper two floors are liberated for shared staff and hospitality uses, including a 200-person amphitheater, café, bistro, private dining and a new roof terrace. These spaces double as work settings – from small and intimate to large and noisy – and together to define a shared architectural identity for the group companies.
Many buildings along the Thames Path have become important London landmarks. The Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre, Tate Modern, Oxo Tower and Shakespeare’s Globe are all established cultural points. At an urban scale, the ambition with Sea Container’s is to make shared and common activities visible from the river, drawing it back into the cultural, creative and commercial life of the Thames.