The Department Store

Squire and Partners


This project took an unoccupied and dilapidated former department store from 1906, and reimagined the building to create a series of inspiring work and social spaces for a multi-disciplinary architecture and design practice. The brief included a series of units for new and existing local businesses, including a community Post Office, coffee roastery, vinyl record store, delicatessen and bar/restaurant. 

The building structure was stripped of years of incremental additions and amendments to reveal original features. Existing interior fabric was assessed to ensure that elements such as 111 year-old Burmese teak parquet flooring, a grand tiled staircase and a historic patina of colours were preserved, as well as artworks left by 1990's squatters. Voids cut through the building create dramatic volumes, and provide connections between levels. 

At ground floor a striking reception area and modelshop animate the street, while a large event space is located on the lower ground floor along with generous cycle storage, changing-rooms and showers. Open plan workspaces are located on first to third floors offering unique spaces for the various design disciplines within the practice. A new rooftop bar/restaurant comprises a series of oak-framed pavilions with copper roofs, and a bespoke glazed dome marks the end of a large south-facing terrace.

Squire and Partners purchased The Department Store in February 2015 and works were completed in June 2017, providing 6,147sqm of workspace, event facilities and retail units. Since occupation the practice has hosted a variety of design and community events collaborating with local creative talent, including exhibitions, talks, tours, workshops and maker markets. 

Staff have commented how the social spaces have changed the way they interact with their colleagues, while locals have embraced the revitalisation of a local landmark.

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