York House

Tags: offices, timber, concrete, new build, refurbishment, low carbon

Related projects: Squirrel Works , Golden Lane

York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers
York House  - Webb Yates Engineers

Situated in the heart of London’s Kings Cross, York House is an eight-storey new build and refurbishment scheme providing flexible co-working space for The Office Group.

The existing York House building, built around 1981, was one of the earliest office blocks built on Pentonville Road. Although it stands in a prominent location with a triple aspect outlook, the building was not in use. The external fabric was in need of repair and the internal areas were poorly lit and not fit for use.

The existing building has been renovated with new extensions added to the rear and the front- restoring and animating the streetscape while providing additional floor area and flexible working spaces.

The first move was to create the five-storey front extension stepped out on Pentonville Road, comprising a double height entrance with offices above. The new entrance light well invites visitors from street level and lights up the street at night. Using design elements from the existing building, we proposed a structurally self-supporting perforate brick lattice for the front façade, set on a 45-degree angle to give it stiffness.

Behind the self-supporting brick wall, the primary structure is a simple cross laminated timber structure with openable windows. The façade is restrained horizontally at each floor level except at the first floor, and tied back to the CLT floor slabs at alternating brick overlaps.

The existing building was significantly refurbished across all floors to suit the needs of modern business, providing meeting rooms, open plan areas, reception, café, bike storage and changing facilities. The existing reinforced concrete frame was extended at roof level with a CLT structure clad in a zig zag perforated aluminium screen. The rear extension is constructed from timber joisted floors supported on a steel frame and connected to the existing structure.

External materials were chosen based on a careful analysis of the existing building and the neighbouring context. Materials are overlapped and layered, creating interesting and tactile surfaces.  

Additionally, energy efficiency was a key design consideration from the outset, with the full design team working towards a BREEAM Excellent rating. The roof of the new extension is a sustainable green roof with PV panels and provides additional outdoor space. Rainwater harvesting and sustainable drainage techniques have also been incorporated into the scheme. The building has been awarded a BREEAM Excellent certification – taking the building’s efficiency rating from G to A.

Webb Yates Engineers, in collaboration with the Client, Architect and Building Services Engineer, transformed a rather anonymous and dated office building on the busy Pentonville Road into a vibrant and alluring co-working space, fit for use as a modern day office.  

Winner at 2021 Structural Awards for Zero-Carbon Ambition and hailed by the judge's:

“A structurally self-supporting perforated brick lattice was employed for the façade, set on a 45-degree angle to give it stiffness. This arrangement is visually striking and economical, reducing the need for additional supports and using half of the bricks of a traditional façade.

The judges admire the beautiful marriage of overlapped and layered materials and the multi-purposefulness of each material working in unison”.


  1. Brick Awards 2021, Innovations, winner, 11 2021
  2. Structural Awards 2021, Zero Carbon Ambition, winner, 11 2021
  3. Structural Awards 2021, Structural Transformation, shortlisted, 11 2021
  4. RIBA London Awards 2021, winner, 8 2021
  5. Structural Timber Awards 2020, Commercial Project of the Year, highly commended, 12 2020
  6. RIBA London Awards 2020, shortlisted, 12 2020
  7. New London Awards 2020, Conserving, highly commended, 11 2020
  8. New London Awards 2020, Working, highly commended, 11 2020
  9. New London Awards 2019, Workplace, shortlisted, 7 2019