Open House Festival

Foundry Co-Working Hub

offices, architectural practice, walk/tour

Cullinan Studio, 2012

Foundry, 5 Baldwin Terrace, N1 7RU

Cullinan Studio converted this Victorian warehouse into their low-energy office in 2012, retaining 80% of the existing building fabric. The Foundry co-working hub is now home to several organisations working in the built environment.

Getting there




Essex Road, Old Street


4, 19, 341, 141, 73, 205, 271




New from old

This Victorian canal-side warehouse was originally a foundry. In the 20th century it was used as a greetings card warehouse and then artists' studios. The warehouse is now home to architects Cullinan Studio, who completed an extensive retrofit of the building into their new offices in 2012. This beautiful and efficient workplace proves that retrofit can be as inspiring as new-build. Cullinan Studio is using their first-hand experience as client, designer and end-user of the building to observe how users interact with the space after handover, and putting that knowledge to good use in future projects.


The BREEAM ‘Excellent’ studios are naturally ventilated. Under-floor heating is provided through an air-source heat pump. Using a fabric-first approach, the listed south wall’s insulation has been upgraded to a u-value of 0.1W/sqm/K by using recycled newspaper (Warmcell). The north wall has insulation of up to 380mm thick over the existing rendered façade providing a u-value of 0.08W/sqm/K. PV panels on the south slopes of the roof generate electricity. A Building Management System (BMS) enables us to monitor energy performance and space temperatures. A recent study has revealed only a few more PV panels are needed to make the building net zero carbon.


An inserted steel frame works with the existing 19th century frame and masonry to support the locally listed and significantly listing south wall (leaning 250mm from bottom to top). The new structure incorporates a mezzanine floor, creating a visual connection with the lower ground floor and making the most of the double-height windows to provide natural light and ventilation, and views onto the canal. The first floor is self-contained and open plan, leaving the assembly of existing listed timber roof trusses undisturbed.

Project Facts

- Client/Architect/Structural Eng.: Cullinan Studio
- M&E/Sustainability Engineer: Max Fordham LLP
- Main Contractor: Jerram Falkus Construction Ltd
- Gross Internal Floor Area: 785sqm
- Completion Date: September 2012
- BREEAM ‘Excellent’
- RICS London Awards 2014 – Design Through Innovation
- AJ Retrofit Awards 2013 – Offices under £5m

Co-Working Hub

In 2021, with a hybrid home/office approach to working becoming a permanent part of Cullinan Studio's culture, the practice took the opportunity to create a co-working hub at the Foundry, welcoming several organisations looking to expand their networks and collaborate on joint initiatives.

The Foundry is now a thriving multi-disciplinary hub for innovative organisations working in the built environment - reflecting the collaborations needed in the construction industry going forward.

Current members of the hub, working alongside Cullinan Studio, include:
- sustainability engineers Etude
- structural and civil engineers Mason Navarro Pledge
- design practice Maynard
- environmental consultants ech2o
- change-makers Curiosity Society
- leading provider of IT services in the AEC sector WIT (Workshop IT Ltd)
- the Sustainable Development Foundation; representing an alliance of pioneering organisations within the sustainable buildings movement, such as the Good Homes Alliance, the Passivhaus Trust and the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products.

All the organisations look forward to expanding their existing networks, collaborating on joint initiatives, and contributing to a dynamic shared events programme.

Path to Net Zero

The Foundry has become a thriving multi-disciplinary hub for innovative organisations committed to mitigating the role that buildings play on climate change, who will be on hand to talk about their latest work. Anchor tenant, Cullinan Studio, will be giving informative tours of the building and its path to achieving net zero carbon, as well as bite-size talks about other NZC projects.

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