This 38,000 sq. ft. warehouse next to East London’s Old Street roundabout has been owned by LPA’s clients since the 1970s’. The multi-purpose building contains a yoga centre and commercial offices, but takes its name from it’s main function as a private university. LPA’s research revealed this early Victorian warehouse to have originated as the factory and offices of ‘The London Fancy Box Company’ printing packaging and stationary. LPA traced and met up with the 4th generation of the family run company who showed us historic methods and machinery. It transpired one of the company’s particular specialties was gold embossing. The idea of embossing; embedding a valuable layer and of leaving an impression became the buildings new story relevant to both to the historic and the present purpose of the building, as a symbol of the impression made on the University student’s minds! In architectural terms LPA ran the story throughout the refurbishment and reconfiguration of the whole building, the studio’s, office’s, classrooms and the newly created commercial spaces on ground floor.
The form and materiality of the new-build top two floors tells the story more prominently. The floor plates have been translated as the dynamic interlocking plates of an embossing die, as if the top plate has just risen up, leaving its negative now gold embossed form below it. The vacuum between the plates are the inhabited spaces, consisting of 9 new homes (multiples of 1,2 & 3 bedrooms) each with balcony gardens.