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Studio Partington refreshes Chamberlin, Powell and Bon’s Golden Lane community centre


The £1 million refurb has stripped away incremental alterations to the 1950s building and restored its original colour scheme

Located at the heart of the Golden Lane estate in central London, the Grade II-listed community centre designed by Chamberlin, Powell and Bon had become outdated and been subject to numerous changes. Studio Partington was commissioned by the City of London Corporation to restore and update the facility to better cater for the various community groups who use it.

Studio Partington sought to restore the original design, making modest alterations to the interior layout while improving the existing fabric of the building, providing flexible spaces and a ’sustainable legacy’. To improve its environmental performance, the roof has been reinsulated and the timber curtain walling replaced with double glazing.

Golden Lane 9116

Golden Lane Community Centre by Studio Partington

Key design features that have been lost over the years have been reinstated: the tiled floor within the main entrance has been reproduced, much of the original colour scheme has been restored and where possible the concrete structure has been exposed, with steps taken to reduce the impact of new partition walls on the existing brick and timber curtain wall façade. 

The main entrance has been opened up with a double-height lantern, which alongside a new community office and reception desk has created a large, bright congregational space. A kitchen servicing the main hall has been reinstated and relocated to link to the entrance lobby through a hatched serving window.

Section 4

Golden Lane Community Centre by Studio Partington

In the main hall, a redundant raised stage has been replaced with educational spaces, provided with the City of London’s Adult Skills and Education Services in mind. Lower-level divisions were reinstated, with flexibility provided by sound-insulated moveable panels and pocket doors that allow multiple activities to take place at once. A quieter seating area and music rehearsal room have views out towards the pond and sunken garden.

Changes to the building’s internal layout have increased circulation space throughout and enabled the provision of disabled toilets on both floors. A new passenger lift now provides access to the lower ground floor, previously only accessible via stairs.

Golden Lane 9072

Golden Lane Community Centre by Studio Partington

Architect’s view

Developing a proposal that addressed the sometimes conflicting interests of stakeholders was always going to be challenging, but it did demonstrate the passion that the building embodied and strong views as to how it should be used and its architectural significance retained.

Although the building was envisaged as an important and pivotal piece of architecture within the estate, it had lost some of its original purpose as a community building for all residents. Alterations since completion had also eroded much of Chamberlin, Powell and Bon’s original design intent, detail and Le Corbusier-influenced colour scheme.

Working closely with the community and undertaking workshops, we developed a sensitive response in keeping with the spirit of the original design, while providing flexible spaces that addressed the desires of the users and residents. A much-loved building has been rejuvenated into a bright, spacious and inclusive environment, with a bold colour scheme and detail that draws on that developed by the original architects.

Marielle Assue, associate, Studio Partington

Ground floor plan copy

Ground floor plan copy

Source: Studio Partington

Ground floor plan

Project data

Start on site September 2017
Completion March 2018
Gross internal floor area 455m²
Form of contract or procurement route Traditional, JCT Standard Building Contract
Construction cost Approx £1 million
Construction cost per m² Approx £2,198
Architect Studio Partington
Client City of London Corporation
Structural engineer Price and Myers
M&E consultant Synergy Consulting
QS Falkers
Project manager James Illsley at City of London Corporation (client)
Main contractor Quinn London
CAD software used Vectorworks
Estimated annual CO2 emissions 43.60kg/m²


Readers' comments (2)

  • Today the City of London voted to take part of the Centre away from the community and use it as an Estate Office. The Community Centre was threatened with £125,000 being taken from them if they did not agree to it.

    It is an excellent restoration though.

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  • The section is of a single storey building, so it's impossible to guess its real size, but - looking at the only floor plan - it's surely not that big a building to be able to carve it up for possibly disparate uses.

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