This new commercial building for a brick importer and manufacturer exists within an existing former Grade 2* listed royal navy munitions store.
Site location – Magazine B is a munitions store of considerable historic character, it is defined by a parabolic arch interior and brick and stone external facade that borrow from the Tudor-Gothic tradition. Constructed in the 1850s the magazines face directly onto the River Medway and had the capacity to hold 10,000 barrels of gunpowder.
The rich heritage of both the client and the site lead to the development of an ‘inserted brick monolith’ as a response to the brief. Although the insertion borrows its defining material from its host, its striking form denotes it as a company headquarters.
This establishes two layers of individual character. Administrative and managerial facilities occupy the ground floor. In contrast a grand, ceremonial stair invites and guides guests up to a raised mezzanine area set aside for the display of bricks, the hosting of visitors and staff amenity space.
As both guests and visitors move through the scheme their paths cross intermittently. Double height voids offer light and views between the upper and lower levels. The insertion is set back from the munition stores flank walls, a conservation requirement, allowing for its parabolic form to read clearly against the alternate geometry of the monolithic, contemporary insertion. A celebration of the context and of brick.