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55 Baker Street, London

Date: 2008

Address: London

Client: MAKE Architects / BAM Construction

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55 Baker Street, London

This radical renovation of a 1950s office building transforms the site into an important new urban amenity. Three glass infills or ‘masks’ span the voids between existing blocks to create a new facade for the building, with the central glazed section enclosing a seven-storey atrium which is open to the public. To enable this concept to shine to its full potential, the glass panels needed to be cleaned and maintained, yet such a unique construction cannot be accessed by standard facade access equipment.

Due to our experience with unusual bespoke maintenance access equipment, we were given the responsibility of finding an access solution for the dramatic front façade of the building.

Our answer to this problem was to provide two track-mounted BMUs with an individual reach of 26m, in order to access out over the angled planes of the building. The cradle buffering on each machine is a bespoke designed and tested system to ensure that the minimum amount of pressure is applied to the exposed glass mask areas at the front of the build façade. In order to ensure that the cradle did not damage the glazed cladding in unexpected gusts of wind, the buffering pads were extensively tested by calculation and mock-ups.

The project was completed on programme, to budget and surpassed the client’s expectation.

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