The restoration of a listed chapel at the centre of the £700 million Fitzroy Place development by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (LDS) and Sheppard Robson has completed
The £2million refurbishment of the chapel was carried out by conservation architects Caroe & Partners and includes improvements to the external brickwork and restoration of the mosaic ceiling and interior.
The chapel was originally at the centre of Middlesex Hospital, which was demolished and replaced by a mixed-use development by LDS and Sheppard Robson due to complete in 2015.
As part of the planning application, developers Exemplar and Aviva agreed to provide £2million towards the restoration of the chapel, as well as £300,000 towards the costs of the Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation, which aims to maintain the chapel as a community space.
Now referred to as The Fitzrovia Chapel, the grade II*-listed structure was designed in 1891 by architect John Loughborough Pearson, a noted Gothic revivalist architect who worked on a number of churches including Truro Cathedral, Bristol Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
The building was completed in 1929 by his son Frank Loughborough Pearson.
Describing the challenges facing the restoration team, Touseer Ahmad, project architect at Caroe & Partners, said: ‘The main problem was with rain water risk. The roof was old, and we had the problem of water getting into the fabric of the building.’
He added: ‘Many of the mosaics and panels were becoming detached due to the damp. We had to totally renew the roof. Once that was done, we were able to start restoring the interior which was a major challenge in itself.’
This involved removing the stained glass windows and renovating them separately before re-installing them to the chapel, and work to restore the mosaic ceilings to their original state.
‘The arched ceilings had originally been gilded, but in some areas, up to 70 per cent of the gold leaf had fallen off,’ said Ahmad. ‘We had to re-gild much of the ceiling. Some marble panels also had to be reattached or replaced.’
The team also introduced a low impact lighting system and a new heating system in the space of the existing trench heaters around the perimeter of the building.
The chapel will open to the public in spring 2015.