Scheme to modernise 1960s block used as the headquarters of FTSE firm Associated British Foods

London practice Garnett Architecture has unveiled plans to refurbish a 1960s office on Russell Square occupied by the company which owns Primark.

Associated British Foods, a £20bn-turnover multinational which also owns grocery brands Twinings, Ovaltine, Ryvita and Kingsmill, has around 100 staff working at 50-51 Russell Square, a stone’s throw from the British Museum.

Plans newly submitted to Camden council for client The Bedford Estates would see the six-storey block revamped to provide 1,740sq m of office space.

The corner site is a conspicuously modernist building in the middle of a row of 19th century town houses on the southern side of the square.

It was built in 1963, five years before the first designation of the Bloomsbury Conservation area was made in response to local concerns regarding the loss of historic buildings in the area. The most recent conservation area appraisal said the building contrasts harshly with the surrounding townscape.

Under the refurbishment plans, the building would be reclad with terracotta-coloured GRC to match the colour scheme of the neighbouring townhouses.

Work would also include a metal-clad roof extension and the replacement of a two-storey block to the rear of the building with a three-storey newbuild infill on Bedford Place. 

The project team includes, Savills, Abakus Consulting, MNP, TPS and Garnett Design Management.

Garnett Architecture, founded in the early 1990s, specialises in integrating contemporary design into heritage sites and refurbishing old buildings with adaptive interventions.

Garnett Russell Square

Source: Google

The existing 1960s building at 50-51 Russell Square