Butler’s & Colonial Wharf

Balancing the demands of modern living with the industrial era

Built in the 19th Century, Butler’s and Colonial Wharf was once the largest warehouse complex in London and was at the heart of the nation’s spice trade for over 150 years.

The building was converted into a residential estate in the 1980s, and with the renovation came low ceilings and partition walls, reducing the building’s access to natural light and ventilation.

To be fit for residential living in the 21st Century, it would require a restructure. McDaniel Woolf Architects were tasked with re-ordering the layout of the 80s apartments in the Grade II listed Victorian shell to maximise light, ventilation, and space. But it wasn’t going to be easy. The architect would need to balance the demands of modern performance with the industrial and historic aesthetic of the building.

For apartments on the top floor, rooflights were chosen as a simple way of introducing more light, without disrupting the building’s silhouette. However, as a listed building, plans to introduce rooflights were not as simple as they would have been in a modern home.

A bespoke version of The Rooflight Company’s Conservation Rooflight, made the proposal a reality. Our Conservation Rooflight is modelled on the original Victorian rooflight and benefits from a modern spec, to bring in the all-important light, whilst prioritising thermal performance. Their classic Victorian look fit seamlessly into the building’s aesthetics, pleasing the conservation officer who approved the work, whilst also providing residents with highly sought-after modern features such as self-cleaning glass and automatic openings.

The Rooflight Company was chosen for our ability to manufacture and deliver high-quality bespoke products to their exact deadline. The architect was pleased that their highly complex design and specification was processed and delivered quickly, which was important for this particular project.

“McDaniel Woolf are proud to continue their close collaboration with the Rooflight Company, two decades of successful partnership. At Butlers and Colonial Wharf, our requirement was for oversized replacement rooflights for a Grade II Listed nineteenth century C19  industrial building in London’s Docklands. This could only be undertaken by a manufacturer with the ability to work closely with ourselves and our mutual client and advise on the technical opportunities and limitations a bespoke project required. The final installation has respected the significance of the historic site, whilst providing a solution of the highest quality.” – Richard Woolf, Architect

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quote open McDaniel Woolf are proud to continue their close collaboration with the Rooflight Company, two decades of successful partnership. At Butlers and Colonial Wharf, our requirement was for oversized replacement rooflights for a Grade II Listed nineteenth century C19  industrial building in London’s Docklands. quote closeRichard Woolf, Architect
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