Albert Works named Workplace of the Year at the AJ Architecture Awards

Following its success at the RIBA and BCO National Awards, Albert Works has been named Workplace of the Year (under 20,000sqm) at the AJ Architecture Awards. The judges praised the project as ‘a delight: very engaging, clever and thoughtful’.

The scheme involved the conversion of four disused red-brick warehouses in Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter, with the integration of a new central, open plan infill to create about 1,600sqm of flexible workspace for brand and marketing agency Jaywing. It efficiently connects teams of accountants, data analysts and management within a single studio environment – and there’s an allowance for future flexibility and expansion.

The original character of the existing buildings has been carefully restored using traditional trades and materials, and the new exposed steel infill frame creates three bays that are pulled away from the existing buildings to create an integrated perimeter walkway and service zone. Externally, the new build elements are expressed with the use of bronze-finished aluminium cladding. ‘The project is simply detailed at low cost without resorting to poor details,’ said the judges.

Rather than demolish a piece of Sheffield’s industrial heritage, the vision for Albert Works and its users was to celebrate its history and sensitively breathe new life into the local area. This is actively and frequently achieved through events hosted in the space, bringing economic vibrancy into this part of Sheffield’s city centre. In all, and among a shortlist featuring a welcome number of retrofit schemes, this has been a stand-out, cost-effective project that has a real sense of history. The judges noted: ‘It thinks ahead about what the building will contribute to the community.’