The Forecourt

Mixed use office building, Stoke on Trent

Formerly known as Peppers Garage, this building was originally designed by this practice in 1936. We were delighted to be commissioned by local businessman Andrew Smith on his first major development venture to ‘breath new life into this old friend’ which had stood derelict for many years. It may come as a surprise to many but the original building was designed so that motor vehicles were taken to the upper floors for repair/servicing and the original 2 car vertical lift was sitill insitu and opertional as was the substantial composite steel and concrete structure. Although the early designs considered retention and re-use of the lift this was ultimately removed to maximise useable floor space. However all of the designs incorporated the retention of the large revetted structural steelwork, exposed concrete floors and facing brick walls to create a ‘Manhattan loft’ type environment. The original proposal, conceived at the height of the building boom in the early 2000’s was for private penthouse apartments at second floor level, more modest ‘short term let’ apartments (aimed at the travelling shows of the nearby cultural quarter) at first floor level and A3 use at ground floor level. Ultimately, due to the recession, only the latter made it to realisation with the second floor level being redesigned to provide a contemporary mezzanined office suite and short term let serviced offices at first floor level. The project was undertaken on a subcontract basis with our client acting as principal contractor and was completed in 2005.