Old Queen Street Cafe & Unherd media offices

The brief

In the heart of old Westminster, located between Westminster Abbey and St James’s Park, is the newly opened Old Queen Street Cafe.

Alongside the new British brasserie on the ground floor, the project also included a challenging overhaul of the building’s basement kitchen, multiple service elements across different floors, as well as factoring in the aesthetics of several exposed utility networks. The solution also had to factor in noise levels (the new complex includes a podcast studio) and simple automated control systems.

The project

The challenges were numerous: the building itself was actually two premises that needed to be combined into one. The basement kitchen was extremely small, which required some smart problem solving from multiple Group GA departments to facilitate the upgrade in heating, safety and ventilation.

Sound insulation was also a top priority, as the cafe wanted to maintain a welcoming, quiet atmosphere, while the upstairs podcast studio required careful control of their sonic environment.

The interior design also included some exposed services, including trunking, which need to perform to requirements while also looking neat enough to match the building’s combination of old and new industries.

Group GA combined their in-house teams, including electrical, mechanical and fire safety to update the electrical systems (including decorative lighting arrays), install new gas boilers, mechanical heat recovery solutions and aircon heating/cooling systems, and improve fire safety and alarm networks.

The team even had to accommodate repurposing some of Winston Churchill’s floorboards from the Old War Office!

The result

Since opening, the cafe has already become a popular destination for politicians and journalists alike, while news outlet UnHerd have grown accustomed to their smart new offices.

The clients appreciated Group GA’s professional, multi-faceted approach throughout the process. Being able to solve problems, especially around retrofitting modern services in some very tight spaces, allowed the project to keep on track, and win new admirers.