• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

    The Transformation of a 1930s Telephone Exchange into a Sustainable Office Space

    ByNuala Hafner

    Nov 21, 2023
    The Transformation of a 1930s Telephone Exchange into a Sustainable Office Space

    Architype and Eve Waldron Design have recently completed the transformation of a 1930s telephone exchange in Cambridge, UK into a vibrant and eco-friendly office building called Entopia. The building now serves as the home for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and features a mix of meeting rooms, flexible work areas, breakout spaces, and event spaces. Additionally, the building accommodates The Canopy, a workspace hub aimed at eco-entrepreneurs and small businesses.

    The retrofit of Entopia was driven by CISL’s ambitious sustainability goals, which included improving energy performance, meeting rigorous energy standards such as Passivhaus, and minimizing material waste and consumption. Architype led the architectural retrofit, while Eve Waldron Design carried out the interior overhaul in line with these sustainability objectives.

    While many of the energy-saving improvements made to Entopia are not immediately apparent to passersby, some visible changes include triple-glazed windows and the addition of a rooftop terrace sheltered by a steel canopy. The rooftop terrace also features photovoltaic panels, contributing to the building’s renewable energy generation.

    Within the interior spaces, Eve Waldron Design aimed to create a joyful and welcoming atmosphere using a color blocking technique. Restorative shades of blues and greens were used throughout the office areas, while the reception and stairways feature deep yellow accents to encourage the use of stairs over the lift. The design also incorporates second-hand furniture, including mid-century design classics, to add character and promote sustainability.

    Entopia stands as a remarkable example of an exemplary retrofit project that showcases the possibilities of sustainable architecture and design. It is currently the largest certified EnerPHit office in the UK, meeting high energy performance standards while providing a collaborative and inspiring workspace.


    Q: What was the original purpose of the building?
    A: The building was originally a telephone exchange in the 1930s.

    Q: What is the purpose of Entopia now?
    A: Entopia serves as the office space for the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) and a workspace hub for eco-entrepreneurs and small businesses called The Canopy.

    Q: What were the sustainability goals for the retrofit?
    A: The retrofit aimed to improve energy performance, meet Passivhaus standards, and minimize material waste and consumption.

    Q: What are some visible changes to the building?
    A: Some visible changes include triple-glazed windows, a rooftop terrace with photovoltaic panels, and a steel canopy.

    Q: How was the interior design approach?
    A: The interior design used color blocking techniques and incorporated second-hand furniture to create a joyful and sustainable atmosphere.