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AHMM wins new Tower Hamlets town hall job

The Old Royal London Hospital
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Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has won the competition to transform the old Royal London Hospital into a new town hall

The winners of last year’s Stirling Prize for Burntwood School defeated a shortlist of six unnamed rivals to scoop the £77 million east London project.

Planned to complete in 2021, the scheme will create a new ‘civic centre’ for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets inside the Grade II-listed landmark on Whitechapel Road.

The local authority bought the historic building – which has been vacant following HOK’s completion of a new £1bn home for the hospital nearby – for around £9 million last year.

Tower Hamlets will relocate to the former hospital from its current base inside Mulberry Place near Canary Wharf which it has occupied since 1993.

The move – which precedes the ending of Mulberry Place’s lease in 2020 – will allow the council to consolidate its offices and release surplus assets for conversion to housing.

It will see around 2,472 council staff spread across the new Whitechapel Road civic centre and the existing John Onslow House in Bow which is due to be refurbished.

AHMM will act as lead consultant and principal designer for both the old Royal London Hospital and John Onslow House projects.

More than 100 expressions of interest were received and 23 bids were chosen during the PQQ stage.

Applicants were required to demonstrate expertise in large-scale listed building refurbishments and the ability to deliver the developments within agreed costs.

AHMM stood out as ‘clear winners’ – according to a statement from the council – and has also agreed to provide work experience for local residents.

Tower Hamlets chief executive Will Tuckley said: ‘The civic centre will be instrumental in our vision for transforming services. The council is keen to introduce new and more efficient ways of working whilst, together with our partners, delivering excellent front line services.

‘Whitechapel as a whole is undergoing massive changes and the civic centre will be a key building contributing to the regeneration of the area and securing the future of a building of heritage importance for the borough.’

AHMM director Paul Monaghan commented: ‘This is an amazing opportunity to create a civic beacon for Tower Hamlets, and we look forward to the challenge of working with new and old to make a new type of town hall at the heart of the community.’

Founded in 1740, the hospital was home to Joseph Merrick – also known as the Elephant Man – who lived there until his death in 1890.

The proposed civic centre is part of a masterplan drawn up by BDP for the area which will see a new Crossrail station open in 2018.

The Whitechapel masterplan aims to deliver 3,500 homes and 5,000 jobs alongside new retail spaces and public areas over the next 10 years.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Chris Rogers

    "The civic centre will be instrumental in our vision for transforming services" Er, you mean just like the devolved 'neighbourhood offices' concept back in about 1990, which is waht landed you with 7 separate tonw halls? What goes around...

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