Renewal and refurbishment of a Grade II Listed 1970s office building and its Grade II terraced gardens

Mountbatten House
The hanging gardens -Mountbatten House

Designed by Arup Associates and completed in 1977, Mountbatten House was built as the new UK headquarters for London paper manufacturer and merchants, Wiggins Teape.

The six-storey building has an uncompromising structural rigour, boldly exploiting its steeply sloping site. A dramatic series of terraced gardens lend it the familiar name ‘Hanging Gardens of Basingstoke’.

Refurbishment, building services replacement and sensitive fabric improvements to the building, together with modest architectural interventions and restoration, and renewal of the gardens, will significantly improve its environmental performance and secure its future as an exemplary and inspiring contemporary workplace.

FCBStudios are now acting as design guardian while the works are undertaken.

Key Information

Sector: Heritage & Creative Reuse, Workplace

Client: MFP Babylon Ltd

Location: United Kingdom

Completion: 2024

Size: 19,622sqm

Inside and outside, conceived as one

The generous expansive rooftop gardens, by James Russell, were integral to the original concept of the building and help to justify it as a pioneering example of late twentieth century workplace design – long before ‘wellbeing’ was a formal consideration in office design.

Having more recently suffered the effects of poor irrigation, maintenance and climate change, the once verdant landscape will be restored, with reference to the original planting scheme, and garden structure, with climate-tolerant species to provide amenity and relaxation spaces for the building’s twenty first century occupants.

The gardens’ southerly aspect affords long views across south and west Hampshire, connecting to further borrowed landscape.

The hanging gardens, Mountbatten House

Symmetry and efficiency for a modern workplace

The rigorously planned and technically innovative building was ahead of its time for modern workplace design - its structural legibility and clarity being reasons for the Grade II listing.

The plan is symmetrical along the northwest-southeast axis and its 1.5m grid allows for a flexibility of planning and occupancy that can accommodate both open-plan and private office spaces.

The 7.5 x 7.5m square bays, each defined by four precast concrete pieces, express an inverted, truncated pyramid structure. They provide a deep services zone and remove the need for any additional ceilings, giving the building a powerful material character and gravitas.

New stair to lower level

A heritage led refurbishment

The building and gardens embody the collaborative approach of the original engineers, architects and landscape designers led by Peter Foggo in Arup Associate’s Group 2. The scheme was recognised with an RIBA award in 1979 and the building and gardens were each separately Grade II listed in 2015.
Our heritage-led redevelopment continues this integrated team approach, combining conservation that respects the building's significance with areas of redesign to ensure its future appeal and success.

Modern additions of internal partitions and suspended ceilings will be stripped out to reveal the building’s structure, original openness, and connection to its landscape. The MEP plant will be replaced and upgraded, freeing up floor area it previously occupied and the building fabric performance will be significantly improved, whilst the structure and spirit of the original design will be retained. The curtain walling will be replaced to improve the building’s thermal performance and quality of daylight.

Two major contemporary architectural interventions seek to dramatically improve the experience of arriving at, and entering, the building. On the street elevation, the envelope line is being moved out by one structural bay and a dramatic double-height foyer space is created by the removal of one bay of structure above it. A second new void, connecting the entrance level to the deepest floor plate with a new sculptural spiral stair, will bring enhanced daylight and connectivity.


Design Architects
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
Delivery Architects
Twelve Architects
Facade Consultant
Montresor Partnership
Building Inspector
Approved Inspector Services
Structural Engineers
Whitby Wood
M&E Engineers
Skelly & Couch LLP
Landscape Architects
Grant Associates / Studio Knight Stokoe
Acoustic Engineers
Anderson Acoustics Ltd
Planning Advisor
Sustainability Consultant
Scotch Partners LLP
Planning Authority & Landowner
Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council
Fire Engineers
OFR Consultants
Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor
Circle Development
H&S Advisor
David M. Eagle Ltd
Hayes Davidson

FCBStudios Team Leads