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IF_DO plans orchard inside London County Hall

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IF_DO has submitted plans for a new orchard inside London County Hall – the first in a series of proposed interventions by the practice within the South Bank landmark

According to the architect, the Orchard Courtyard scheme will ‘reactivate the southern wing’ of the Grade-II* listed building by dropping a new circulation core in the south-east lightwell.

The plans include a glazed roof supported by slender columns, sitting above four honey locust trees, and a glass lift tower leading to a roof terrace overlooking the Thames and Palace of Westminster.

The lifts will provide access to upper levels which have remained largely unoccupied since the departure of the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1986.

The Edwardian Baroque building was built as the headquarters of the London County Council (LCC) and later the (GLC) between 1911 and 1939 to the designs of Ralph Knott and EC Collins.

IF_DO director Sarah Castle said: ‘Orchard Courtyard brings new life and vibrancy to a vacant and dilapidated area of County Hall, ensuring active occupation of the building for years to come.’

The courtyard project is part of a wider refurbishment plan being led by IF_DO, but further details of the build programme and timetable for the works have yet to be disclosed.

If do orchard courtyard 004 ┬®if do

If do orchard courtyard 004 ┬®if do

The architect’s view

The slender white steel columns ensure minimal impact of the structure on the existing building façades and are encased in curved concrete collars at the base, creating the illusion that the columns are growing out of the bespoke terrazzo floor.

Inspired by the grandeur and elegance of the Portland stone building, Orchard Courtyard employs a palette of materials drawn from the existing fabric, including the bronze anodised window frames and linings and white glazed bricks that line the existing lightwells.

The design of the new terrazzo and concrete floor is inspired by the circular windows which decorate the lightwells of the building. The ornate pattern creates a visual connection between the new courtyard and County Hall’s existing entrance halls.

Floor plan

Floor plan

Project data

Location London County Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 7PB
Gross internal floor area Ground floor 275 m²; roof level 178 m²
Client London County Hall
Architect IF_DO
Heritage consultant Feilden+Mawson
Planning consultant Indigo
Structural engineer Waterman Group
M&E consultant Waterman Group
Approved inspector Quadrant AI
Access consultant Access=Design

Ifdo county hall section

Ifdo county hall section

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Quite a revelation that upper levels have remained largely unoccupied for the last 32 years.
    Reminiscent of the infamous Harry Hyams' strategy to keep Centre Point unoccupied - but in the case of County Hall, was it strategy or ineptitude?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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