Materials giant will move out of Cullinan Studio’s listed headquarters next summer
The landmark headquarters of the British materials giant bought by Cemex for more than £2bn over a decade ago is set to be turned into an old people’s home.
The building at Thorpe in Surrey, next door to the Thorpe Park theme park, was completed for RMC in 1990 by architect Cullinan Studio.
It was given a grade II* listing three years ago after a high-profile campaign, featuring architects Nicholas Grimshaw and Richard Rogers, saved the building from the wrecking ball after plans to replace it with housing were drawn up.
But Cemex’s new UK country president Michel André told Building that the firm will move its remaining staff out of the offices next June and relocate them to its main UK office in Rugby.
André, who has been in the post since July, said the firm has sold the complex to a developer who will apply to local authority Runnymede borough council to turn it into housing for the elderly.
He added: “I think it’s a great building for what it was but it’s obsolete for our own use. We had some discussions about whether we could transform it into a European training centre for Cemex but what we need is a national headquarters close to our main operations in Rugby.”
Cemex, which employs 3,000 staff in the UK and has a turnover of around £900m making it the materials giant’s biggest market in Europe, has its main cement plant in the Warwickshire town as well as its main office where 300 people work.
The single-storey office block at Thorpe was designed around an 18th century grade II listed country house as well as a nineteenth century stable block and half-timbered house.
The building has been lauded as an exemplar office complex with its extensive roof gardens and, recommending it for listing, English Heritage said: “We have given particularly careful thought to this case which considers the structures and integrated landscape of Cullinan’s ground-breaking scheme for commercial offices, and its response to setting in the Green Belt.” It added that it should be listed “for its high degree of special architectural and historic interest in a national context”.
Mexico-headquartered Cemex paid £2.3bn for RMC, which used to be known as Ready Mixed Concrete, back in 2005.