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Faraday Close

2020 - 2023

A business park for the future; one which is integrated with the city and the people that live there.
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A business park for the future; one which is integrated with the city and the people that live there.


Watford Business Park is a major strategic industrial area of approximately 30 hectares, and employs in the region of 1,000 people. However, a significant proportion of the existing built stock is over 50 years old and deteriorating. Watford Borough Council and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership recognised that without an innovative and forward thinking development, the business park will fail to attract new enterprises, as well risk deteriorating further and losing employment opportunities for the borough.

Watford, UK
Watford Borough Council
Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
Urban designer, architect and landscape architect
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Before view of the site - now Faraday Close
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Faraday Close sits as the gateway site into Watford Business Park

In order to turn around the fortunes of the declining estate, the council appointed Studio Egret West to craft a vision for Faraday Close, which sits as the gateway site into Watford Business Park. Our consented plans see a new approach to physical organisation, which along with a programme of uses that are not limited to inward facing operations, will help to create a business park for the future; one which is integrated with the city and the people that live there.

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Proposed axonometric of Faraday Close
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Proposed layout for Faraday Close showing the main entrances

In bringing together the plans for Faraday Close, we have worked as urban designers, architects and landscape architects to establish a series of design principles which underpin the architectural approach, as well as the ambitions for a wider site framework which can be delivered in the future. Our designs include circa 7,100m2 of modern, flexible business units tht are targeted at small and medium sized business within the film, TV, life sciences and manufacturing sectors, and which will help shape the place to become a key catalyst in reinforcing Watford Business Park’s status as a strategic industrial area and support the growth of emerging and established industries in the region.

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Proposed aerial view
Business parks should no longer be isolated industrial zones, and must instead be fully and seamlessly integrated into their urban fabric. At Faraday Close, the green corridors, attractive buildings, and quality materials all point to a desirable destination that enhances its context for users as well as passing visitors.”
Christophe Egret
Founding Director, Studio Egret West


From the outset, we set out to challenge the standard industrial estate vernacular of grey or brick boxy warehouses; instead aiming to create intriguing structures and forms. The scheme is delivered via two module types - larger warehouse buildings as well as smaller pavilion structures.

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Proposed view looking into Faraday Close

The larger building module, with its internal shell measuring approximately 36m x 30m, with a 6m structural grid, allows it to be divided into one, two or three units, depending on prospective tenant requirements. These larger buildings are articulated with corner roof top elements, helping to define key entrances and routes through the site, as well as giving Greenhill Works a distinct character.

The smaller pavilion buildings are characterised by their cantilevered structures, providing covered loading and working areas. The framework for the wider Watford Business Park proposes repetition of these two modular forms, which are of similar construction, layout and material finish, whilst still allowing for some individuality.

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Example of the smaller pavilions

The façades are built up in a series of layers, and function as a kit of parts. An overarching grid combines polycarbonate, expanded metal, and solid aluminium panels, with openings for loading bays and pedestrian doors also unified through this grid. Larger areas of polycarbonate celebrate the timber structural frame and provide slightly obscured views in and out of the buildings.

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Example of the larger pavilions

Mesh obscures the continuous polycarbonate band at upper levels, and is removed in varying locations across buildings to add composition to the otherwise regular gridded facade. Together, the outcome is a textured, layered and playful aesthetic where glimpses of light, shadow and movement animate the streetscape.

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Proposed illustrative view of Faraday Close Yard

Internally, the mezzanine levels use plywood, which adds a warm, textural quality, whilst also being more sustainable than a standard plasterboard finish, and requires little maintenance. Accompanying the plywood structure will be servicing elements (pipes and cables) and barriers which protect the structure from collision and industrial activities. These are detailed in a manner which has been considered aesthetically whilst also meeting practical, functional requirements.

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Internal bay study looking towards the reception area next to the main entrance
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Internal elevation looking towards the front of the larger warehouse buildings


With sustainability in mind, we worked closely with our engineers to develop a glue laminated timber, or ‘glulam’ structure for the modules. Glulam has far less embodied energy than its steel counterpart (approx. 2.5x less), and its ability to be constructed off site allows for a high quality finish, economic efficiency, a shorter construction programme, as well as reduced noise pollution, dust and waste on site.

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Axonometric showing the glulam frame for the larger warehouse units

The structures can readily adapt to plot size and phasing requirements, with a freestanding footprint providing space on all four sides for additional openings to enable an office or retail unit use if required.

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Tying together the varying elements of Faraday Close is a landscape approach which aims to create a holistic and consistent public realm with an industrial charter and abundance of naturalistic planting. Sustainable urban drainage, ensuring the practical space and requirements of an industrial park, and creating characterful public spaces for people have been critical in informing the design. Improved pedestrian and cycle routes encourage less reliance on cars, whilst verdant green edges and generous breathing space between components allow people to meet, collaborate, rest or play.

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