Office design specialist Morgan Lovell has transformed a 1950s building, described prior to the refurb as a ‘black hole’, into a bright workplace, which achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating.

The fit out at Charles Darwin House in London, which is home to the British Ecological Society, the Society for Experimental Biology and the Biochemical Society, included several environmental innovations such as a bespoke plastic resin reception desk embedded with green grass.

Dr Hazel Norman, executive director of the British Ecological Society, said: “We are delighted that BREEAM Excellent has been achieved.

“It was not an easy objective as it involved transforming a 1950s office which needed a significant amount of refurbishment. When we first came to view the building it was a bit of a black hole with little natural light.

“The transformation now means that all 70 staff across five floors enjoy access to natural light and the stunning ground floor reception and conference suite now benefit from full length windows.”

The toilet area incorporates two new showers and lockers designed for use by staff who have been encouraged to cycle to work. To support that policy, the office car park has been transformed into an area with covered bike racks and car parking is no longer available.

All toilets and sinks are adapted to ensure low water usage and a water monitoring and leak detection system alerts staff to any problems.

To achieve BREEAM Excellent in this older building, Morgan Lovell relied on the findings from the transformation of its own London headquarters – a 1960s office block previously viewed as an environmental write-off – into an award-winning green workplace. The office, located in Noel Street, was developed to create a blue print for the future in sustainable office design – paving the way for the conversion of existing building stock into low carbon environments.

Dr Norman gives an insight into how inspirational design has helped achieve the challenging green standard in a Morgan Lovell podcast covering BREEAM. To download the podcast log on to or subscribe via iTunes.

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