The Royal Academy of Engineering’s new enterprise hub occupies the lower floors of a Grade I-listed terrace designed by John Nash in St James’s, London
The enterprise hub will be used as a research area for budding engineers and a venue for them to be mentored by fellows of the academy.
The project spans the three lower floors of 3-4 Carlton House terrace, which was designed by Nash in 1827. It contains a number of vaults and double-height spaces.
The £4 million project, which opened earlier this month, is centred around a foyer, with smaller meeting rooms occupying the restored vaults. These rooms are clustered around a break-out space which connects to the adjacent courtyards.
The design was born out of careful analysis of the historic fabric and a clear brief to find a strategy to improve connections. The existing spaces are fundamentally beautiful, therefore new elements have a common light touch to enhance the tactile experience; bringing warmth, light and colour.
Spaces that were closed off within the storey-high ceiling voids have been fully returned, exposing the original height of the rooms. The unveiling of these double-height spaces has greatly improved access and connections between the two properties, as well as resolving long-standing logistical problems, and revived areas in need of repair. A new connecting corridor has been cut with precision through the mezzanine floor brick vaults, forming a direct link between the buildings.
In order to highlight the sculptural qualities of the restored vaulted spaces, we used a restrained material palette throughout the project. Detailed oak screens line each meeting room, giving a warm and a tactile quality to the spaces as well as containing additional services, AV screens and storage.
Client The Royal Academy of Engineering
Construction cost £4.1 million
Project manager Stuart A Johnson Consulting
Structural & services engineer Arup
Quantity surveyor Faithful and Gould
Main contractor Knight Harwood
Fire safety consultant Menzies Partners