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An exemplar for deep retrofit prioritising circular economy principles

Elevation colour corrected

This new flagship workspace for client Fullers Foods refurbishes 1 Chantrell Court, an existing office building on The Calls in Leeds city centre. The designs create a new best-in-class sustainable head office for Fullers Foods’ expanding team; providing generous and high-quality working space, meeting rooms and product demonstration spaces.

The existing 1990s building adjacent to the Grade I listed St Peters church on The Calls in Leeds city centre was dated, with little aesthetic merit. The building fabric and services had reached the end of their life. For many studios the obvious choice would be demolition and rebuild; but Group Ginger have chosen to preserve the embodied carbon within the building and use our skill in adaptive re-use to transform Chantrell House from ugly duckling to a best-in-class facility that reflects Fullers’ commitment to quality, promoting wellbeing and access to fresh and nutritious food.

The three-storey building will house development and innovation kitchens on the ground floor, allowing Fullers to test new recipes on site and present them to their clients. The second floor houses contemporary workspace designed to facilitate collaboration between functions, with meeting rooms on the third floor.

Group Ginger’s design prioritises circular economy principles, retaining as much of the building as possible. We have consciously rejected an aesthetically-driven retrofit approach that replaces or covers the facade with costly and carbon-intensive new materials. Instead, the design retains the façade, utilising an external frame with integrated planting to soften the building’s appearance and make a more attractive contemporary contribution to the streetscape, creating maximum effect with minimum means. The existing stair core has been retained and a new lift, toilets and showers introduced, promoting sustainable travel.

The fabric-first approach to the reinvention prioritises repairs, insulation, draught-proofing and ventilation to improve energy efficiency and occupier comfort. A new roof and upgraded insulation minimise energy loss. New large windows increase natural daylight, improving occupier wellbeing and minimising reliance on artificial lighting. A new landscaped external terrace increases the biodiversity of the site with native planting and integrated wildlife habitats for bats and bird species including House Sparrow, Starling, Swift, Swallow and House Martin. This area offers social space with biophilic benefits for employee wellbeing.

GF lobby persp 1
IK entrance 1
GF social persp
SF meeting small
FF breakout persp from desk
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Fullers Foods

Structural Engineer

Skyhooks Engineering

M&E Engineer

Preston Barber

Building Control


Food Service Design


Avoiding demolition saved many tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. The energy efficiency measures improve the EPC rating from E to A, with the double benefit of saving operational carbon and reducing the impact of rising energy costs. The works decarbonise the heating system by reducing total energy demand combined with the potential of using renewable energy.

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