The design for an exhibition stand for British Gypsum in 1962 had a second life when its steel-frame was reused for Ryder and Yates’s own offices at Killingworth. The stand had resembled a small two-storey building, with its white facade, ribbon windows, flat roof and slender columns, and it was a relatively straightforward task to design an office around the recycled steelwork.
The new office was single-storey and rectilinear, with a continuous ribbon of glazing along each side extended to full height at the ends, within a frame of Formica panels. The result was an open-plan office where up to 40 architects and engineers could be housed in one space, an important demonstration of Ryder and Yates’s multi-disciplinary approach to building design. The sophisticated structural system consisted of elegant perimeter steel columns with lattice girders, which could span the office space without the need for intermediate support. Formica-faced timber panels and aluminium glazing were hung on the outside of the expressed columns to form the envelope for the new building. These were replaced with quartz-faced concrete panels in the 1970s, similar to those being developed by the practice at the time for their building for Sterling Organics.
All images courtesy of Ryder and Yates archive