Realising Value

Enfield Business Centre

Opened by the Deputy Mayor of London in September 2014, this remodelled 1970’s office building is home to the Enfield Business Centre (EBC), a business support collective who provide in-house and online training, advice and guidance to local entrepreneurs and the wider business community.

Previous building elevation
Previous reception. Door partition was reused in the final design
Map of surrounding businesses

RCKa worked with Enfield Council and the GLA to identify opportunities to transform what was a part vacant, council subsidised business centre with a poor relationship to the high street, into a vibrant, sustainable and engaging community asset.

Through a series of interviews with service providers, business users and the local community we helped define a new business model and design brief before embarking on the actual design process with stakeholders.

By assessing the respective positive impact of a range of physical and business-plan strategies we were able to realise maximum value from a limited building budget.

"The Enfield Business Centre has been the most beneficial to the area and has actively supported businesses and young people in the area. This is a strong economic asset for the future."
Outer London Fund Round 2 Evaluation - December 2015
“The Enfield Business Centre is one of the most successful [GLA-funded] projects to date: It provides support to local entrepreneurs and undertakes outreach with local businesses on the high street. Funding has helped to develop a dynamic co-working space which is now successfully delivered.”
Outer London Fund Round 2 Evaluation - December 2015

A priced shopping list of building improvements helped stakeholders identify the final scope of works; those that offered most value for money, best met the needs of existing tenants the GLA and Council, and increased the business centre’s presence.

Since re-opening, the key operator of the newly refurbished ground floor space has tripled its number of registrations and the centre as a whole has seen a significant increase in the use of all of its services. The building is also now fully let, which constitutes an important step towards it becoming self-funding.

The transformation has had an incredibly positive impact locally, as recognised by the Greater London Authority and the Architect's Journal, who presented RCKa with the AJ Small Project Sustainability Award for its significant contribution to local regeneration despite its small budget.

Design challenges were considerable, from pressure for the entrance space to provide multiple uses as required by the myriad stakeholders with whom we worked closely, to complex technical issues of rerouting/removing existing services networks as multiple layers of lowered ceilings were removed – not to mention a very limited budget.

The resultant entrance space is unrecognisable as it is now open, welcoming and flexible. It doubles up as reception and lobby, as multi-use event space and cafe. It creates two lines of security, three private meeting rooms and through generous glazing it contributes positively to the activity of the highstreet and finally reveals what’s going on inside.

Previous Plan
Plan as Built

Ultimately a few strategic design moves resolve what was a complex brief, namely; relocating parking to the rear, reusing doors and screens where possible, inserting a new multi-use glass box into the ground floor elevation, and wrapping this with a contemporary interpretation of the pre-existing concrete arched canopy.

Quality and human-scale is communicated through precise construction detail and a rich material palette. Delicate gold anodised aluminium fringing forms an arched fascia in front of glazing, which continues into the entrance as a light timber slatted ceiling. Whilst bold pigmented concrete floor tiles provide a vibrant carpet for events, the stripes of which extend out across the newly pedestrianised forecourt to encourage interaction with the high street.

Client: London Borough of Enfield
Construction Value:£250,000
Completion: 2014
Location: Enfield, London
Photography: Jakob Spriestersbach
Awards: AJ Small Projects Sustainability Award 2015
Public Realm: We Made That