Taank Optometrists: benchmark in architectural restoration and sustainable design
The revitalisation story of Taank Optometrists is a compelling tale of resilience and forward-thinking design. In the aftermath of the devastating fire that struck Mill Road, Cambridge, in 2019, this project wasn’t just a building renovation; it was a revival of a cherished landmark deeply rooted in the community’s heart.
We redefined the intersection of heritage conservation, modern design, and sustainability in architectural practice by honouring the building’s century-old legacy and incorporating contemporary design and strict fire safety regulations.
Restoration with a sustainable vision
The decision to prioritise eco-friendly materials and practices was driven by a desire not only to repair but also to improve. Swapping out traditional insulation for an environmentally friendly alternative, installing energy-efficient windows, and maximising natural ventilation are testaments to this commitment. In the choice of interior decor, sustainability continued to be a key factor, with the selection of natural materials and flooring from Tarkett –known for its use of recycled materials and sustainable lifecycle.
From ashes to innovation
Taank’s new look extends beyond environmental considerations, merging the need for aesthetic appeal and practical functionality. WindsorPatania deftly balanced the restoration of the building’s front, maintaining the quintessential period features that harmonise with the Mill Road Conservation Area. At the same time, working with William Mayes from Layrd Design, we infused modern design elements at the rear of the building, showcasing a blend of tradition and contemporary architecture.
Despite stringent size constraints, every inch of the property was meticulously planned to maximise utility while enhancing aesthetic appeal. The vision materialised in a design that skilfully balances private outdoor areas with airy, open-plan interiors and safety regulations.
An end result to showcase a luxurious but approachable and comfortable setting
– William Mayes • Project Manager and Interior Designer
Enriching the experience
To mirror the quality of services offered by Taank Optometrists in the building’s new look, we introduce features like a coffee bar and a bespoke frame adjustment area, in careful devotion to both functionality and luxury, to enhance customer experience.
The practice now spans three meticulously designed floors, each dedicated to a unique aspect of service and experience: a welcoming reception and retail space on the ground floor, a quiet, private dispensing area, an additional consulting room on the second, and a relaxed, airy staff area on the top floor.
A fusion of the old and the new
The shop’s facade, facing the historic Mill Road, was carefully restored to retain as many original period features as possible, maintaining the area’s architectural harmony. Contrastingly, the rear of the building saw a more creative approach, blending the structure’s historical essence with modern design elements. This juxtaposition of old and new symbolises a bridge between the past’s charm and the future’s promise.
Many different scenarios, but eventually came up with the ramp-hallways combination, a rather elegant, tailored solution
– Roberta Sanna • Senior Architectural Assistant and Lead Designer
Architectural ingenuity meets historical sensitivity
The project faced the dual challenge of preserving the 100-year family legacy embedded within the building while infusing it with modern safety and design elements.
A notable change was the removal of an external metal staircase, replaced by a hallway and ramp suitable for emergency escapes. The upgrade signifies not just compliance with fire safety norms but also an elegant, space-efficient solution to a complex problem.
We are delighted to see the final result. We went the extra mile to address building and fire regulations while realising client’s vision
– Ryan Windsor • Development Director at WindsorPatania
This project is testimony of WindsorPatania’s dedication to excellence and our swift, focused approach. Finalising designs and receiving approvals within an impressively tight four-month window, the team’s ability to work efficiently ensured that the building work could commence speedily, minimising disruption and hastening the return to normalcy for both Taank Optometrists and the Mill Road community.