The Hickman, Whitechapel

The Hickman is a contemporary workspace that meaningfully responds to both the historic fabric of Whitechapel, and to the wider area’s unique cultural identity. Sitting next to Altab Ali Park – the site of the old 14th-century white church, St Mary Matfelon, from which the area gets its name – and opposite the Whitechapel Gallery, the Hickman seeks to re-establish a civic presence to this locally important site.

The design of The Hickman is informed by a spatial strategy for the wider site undertaken by DSDHA. This led to a framework of proposals that included new build residential accommodation and a courtyard extension to the adjacent hotel, as well as the complete refurbishment and extension of the former Cityside House to create what is now The Hickman – a new workspace that comprises contemporary office accommodation, co-working spaces, retail uses at ground floor, and a series of generous external terraces that offer exceptional views across the City. 

The building's interior references the site's history through the retained cast-iron columns and concrete beams which offer an insight into the piecemeal growth of Buck & Hickman, who occupied the site until 1974. 

Celebrating Whitechapel's industrial heritage 
Historically home to Buck & Hickman, a saw and tool makers trading on the site for over a century, the site sits within the Whitechapel High Street Conservation Area and in close proximity to the Grade II*-listed Whitechapel Bell Foundry – Britain’s oldest manufacturing company dating back to the 16th Century, known for crafting bells such as Big Ben and the Liberty Bell. 

The former building on the site presented itself as a simply detailed, 1950s office development, however, upon further analysis revealed itself to be the amalgamation of five separate phases of development. Adopting an environmentally sustainable approach that was predicated on retention and creative reuse of the existing building, DSDHA's design celebrates the collision of different structures that have been consolidated to create a single building, and reveals much of the historic cast-iron structure to bring an integrity and honesty to the character of the internal spaces. 

A new identity
The existing building is extended vertically with three additional floors placed on top. Here, a series of generous external terraces are created through inflecting the form of the roof extension, both protecting keys views and daylight to the adjacent park while ensuring promoting the well-being of tenants through the provision of new green amenity. 

Architect: DSDHA 
Spatial Strategy: DSDHA
Interior Design: DSDHA (office); Conran & Partners (lobby and retail) 
Structural Engineer: Heyne Tillett Steel 
M+E Engineer: Milieu Consult 
Cost Consultant: Leslie Clark 
Project Manager: Hush PMC 
Planning Consultant: DP9 
Contractor: Ellmer Construction
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