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The Northcliffe House, previously the headquarters for The Daily Mail newspaper, sits in the Whitefriars Conservation Area and is considered a historic Grade II listed building. The building's ornamental 1920’s Art Deco style is being preserved while undergoing a green retrofitting and modernization of the office spaces.

DWS Grundbesitz GmbH tasked Jensen Hughes with developing a new comprehensive fire strategy that would enhance fire safety, maximize the number of occupants on the floor plate, increase the floor area and support the new atrium design aspiration. The results maximize the number of occupants in tandem with increasing fire safety for this elegant structure.

Our solution was tailored to the unique needs and architectural complexities of the building, ensuring optimal coverage and effectiveness. The design aspects that were maximized by our team of experts included developing an innovative solution to optimize the occupancy of the office areas, meeting the client's request of accommodating the maximum number of people per floor, calculated at 6 square meters per person.

While adhering to specific interior layout criteria provided by the architect, we also advised on the most effective escape routes. The automatic fire detection system and increased floor-to-ceiling allowed for 20% benefit for the means of escape parameters.

Our expert team also conducted a thorough fire strategic assessment of the building, identifying vulnerabilities, occupant characteristics, existing means of escape and firefighting provisions. This analysis formed the foundation for the subsequent phases of our solution.

Leveraging our understanding of the approach to fire safety from the first principle as well as of the applicable code guidance, we developed a coherent and robust fire strategy for the building. Our strategy takes advantage of the active and passive fire safety systems and internal compartmentation as well as the architectural solutions for each floor plate, including increased floor-to-ceiling height.

We reworked the atrium strategy, which was vertically extended by raising the roof to allow natural light onto the terrace level. Our team of experts ensured that the atrium space adheres to safety codes and standards, eliminating the need for the architect to fire-rate the entire atrium.

To manage smoke restriction at upper levels, smoke vents were installed on the perimeter of the atrium roof. The number of vents was increased to reduce the risk of adverse wind impact on the system's performance, with vents also located on two opposing elevations to avoid wind potentially affecting all vents simultaneously.

Our comprehensive multi-faceted solutions supported the transformation of this commercial site while preserving the original character and softening the industrial spaces in the building. Our expert team not only achieved compliance but also safeguarded lives and preserved this historic landmark that is shortlisted for this year’s New London Award.

Project Details


DWS Grundbesitz GmbH

Project Location

City of London, London

Project Size

27,000 Gross Internal Area | 187,700 ft² grade A office with 9800 ft² of terrace


2020 - 2023

Featured Experts

Arnaud Mussotte

Technical Director, Fire Engineering

DUT HSE, MSc, Fire Safety Engineering, FSENG

View Details


Shortlist, New London Award

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