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Conservation Award

Commissioning authority: The Roundhouse Trust
Principal designer: John McAslan + Partners
Principal contractor: Tolent

Award for a project designed and executed with respect for original fabric, design and form, while making a minimum intervention consistent with safety and structural integrity. Sponsored by Hyder Consulting.

This Victorian brick-built former steam-engine-service building has been reconfigured
and revamped into one of London’s premier music venues and performance spaces.

The transformation of the venue was the brainchild of inventor and philanthropist Torquil Norman. He was determined to recreate this music and arts venue to be as vibrant as it was when Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix first played there back in the 1960s and ’70s.

But the plan was also to create a community resource that could use music and the arts to inspire, teach and motivate disadvantaged young people in the local community.

Norman’s dream has been realised. And along the way the project team has also successfully restored and conserved a fascinating and historically valuable building, which came perilously close to becoming too derelict to save.

At the heart of the £30 million restoration project was the need to maintain a practical and sustainable purpose for the structure. Careful design and attention to detail enabled the design team to make quite radical alterations to the building’s fabric to suit modern functional needs, while retaining its historical value.

A major upgrade of the roof presented one major design and construction challenge since it required both soundproofing and strengthening.

The solution was to superimpose a self-supporting structural steel skeleton over the Victorian cast iron and timber roof which could carry the insulation and 20-tonne lighting rig. However, despite the major work, the roof appears unchanged from both inside and outside.

The project also includes a major three-storey extension to provide better visitor facilities and office space.

The work has reinvented the Roundhouse as a leading London venue, while adding a new cultural contribution to Camden’s local community. Preservation of the historic structure, including more than million exposed interior bricks, was delivered with exceptional value for money.

‘The client and architect shared a passion for the history of the Grade II-listed building and have achieved a sympathetic and practical transformation.’

‘A perfect fusion of old and new with minimum visual intervention.’

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