The old Royal Mail Bournemouth sorting office

This development was situated on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office in Albert Road, Bournemouth. The original Post Office building had been inaugurated in 1896, but in 2008, the staff relocated to WH Smith. For several years, the original building remained unused, except for the front section, which was transformed into a Pizza Express restaurant on the ground floor, with student accommodation above. However, the unused rear section, encompassing approximately three-quarters of the original structure, was slated for demolition and redevelopment.

Nestled in the heart of Bournemouth, this project filled a vacant space between the surrounding buildings, revitalizing the development pattern along Albert Road. Given the presence of listed buildings in the vicinity, the design necessitated a sensitive approach, blending traditional and contemporary architectural elements. The front-facing Albert Road featured a yellow brick Regency façade, while the rear portion of the building showcased a distinctive saw-toothed contemporary wing. The development itself comprised 79 one and two-bedroom apartments, along with two ground-floor retail units.

Due to restricted access to the site, the new structure incorporated a steel frame that supported a composite metal deck and concrete floor system. The site boundaries were shared with several adjacent properties, leading to the involvement of seven different party wall acts to address the respective considerations. One particular challenge arose from the fact that the new development had to extend over the kitchen of the neighboring Pizza Express. It was imperative that the restaurant’s operating hours remained unaffected throughout the construction process, thus necessitating careful planning and stringent requirements. Any modifications or strengthening works to the existing Pizza Express structure had to be executed with utmost precision and minimal disruption.

By successfully navigating these complexities and adhering to the project’s unique requirements, the development on the former Royal Mail sorting office site brought new life to the area, seamlessly blending historical and modern architectural elements while delivering desirable residential and commercial spaces. Therefore, Calcinotto provided a solution to cantilever the 4 upper storeys 6m over Pizza Express with now support provided by the existing building. this large cantilever was formed using a full storey depth of steel trusses within the bin and cycle stores. The cantilever frames were anchored down using large CFA piles.


The Old Sorting Office Ltd




Bournemouth, Dorset


ARC Architecture Ltd


Drew Construction Group


Mixed Use