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· Amy Glover

Olivetti Derby

Creative retrofit of our Derby Olivetti building into the new East Midlands Logistics Centre (emlc.space), by Fresh Logistics

Originally completed by Cullinan Studio in 1972, the 5,000sqm Olivetti building in Derby has been transformed by Fresh Logistics Services, a family run temperature controlled logistics solutions company, into a one stop shop for businesses and individuals working in the logistics industry.

Fresh Logistics Services Managing Director, Alan White, states

“Creating a venue where logistics professionals can meet, in a complex filled by logistics related companies seems such an obvious proposition, but sites like this do not seem to exist. The site is perfect for a range of uses, from housing meetings and conferences, to holding interviews and hosting clients.”

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP formerly opened the new logistics hub on Friday 24th July. Ted Cullinan then give a talk on how he designed the building for Olivetti – one of four new branch offices completed for the Italian manufacturer of typewriters, computers and other business products, in the 1970s. All four buildings were based on a combination of bespoke and standardised elements, taking the courtyard form as a starting point and stretching it to suit the location.

Ted Cullinan draws the story of the Olivetti buildings at the opening of the emlc.space

A series of repeated office modules were arranged on top of a ground floor made of concrete, cast in situ. The internal circulation was separated from the individual offices by a modular kit of plywood storage units. The 45 degree pitched roof was created using a pre-fabricated system of plywood trusses, supported on the courtyard side by a light steel frame and on the outside by a series of timber fins.

We devised a flexible system for the Olivetti buildings, based on a combination of bespoke and standardised elements.

The Olivetti Derby building is locally listed to the City of Derby as being of architectural interest. It featured as a key building in the 2014 East Midlands Love Architecture festival and local architects and students regularly book tours of the site. Fresh Logistics have opened up the building to the University of Derby’s construction management students on a maintenance and refurbishment module.

Following a recent visit to the building, Hugh Pearman, Editor of the RIBA Journal:

“…please welcome the East Midlands Logistics Centre, latest incarnation of the British Olivetti building. Proof that the best kind of construction industry recycling is direct re-use of a very ingenious and forward-thinking building. And that a strong architectural concept, by a Royal Gold Medallist, can survive the vicissitudes of time.”

‘Fresh start for a modern classic’, Hugh Pearman, 21st April 2015

Ted Cullinan outside the Derby Olivetti building - now the emlc.space - in July 2015