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Hamiltons to transform London's first women's refuge

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Hamiltons Architects has unveiled designs to convert London's first women's refuge into a new residential development.

Formerly the Ada Lewis Women's Lodging House, the Grade II-listed building is set to undergo a complete transformation, providing 61 new apartments.

According to the practice, the conversion involves several challenges with regards to access, circulation, and connecting the 'disparate' external spaces around the building.

The practice decided to develop a glass-topped atrium within the existing atrium - between the wings of the U-shaped building - ensuring that the fabric of the existing building is preserved.

The brass-clad box will house 10 unique apartments, and is designed to 'float' between the two brickwork wings, allowing for open-plan living space.

Internally, Hamiltons has preserved many of the building's distinguishing features, such as the old staircase, the laundry room, and double-height communal rooms.

An external exhibition space is also incorporated, dedicated to the building's history and the life of Ada Lewis, who instigated the building in 1913.

Project architect Scott Grady said: 'The design challenge was to establish a strong physical and metaphorical relationship between existing and new, while maintaining residential character.'

by Richard Vaughan

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