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Lynch submits plans for extension to Westminster Coroner’s Court

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Lynch Architects has submitted plans for a timber and stone extension to Westminster Coroner’s Court

A new garden of remembrance designed by the practice was built to the left side of the court in summer 2018, its completion timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, as families bereaved by the fire attended the inquest at the court.

Now client Westminster Council has formally received plans for the second phase of the development, which will see an extension with more office space and improved facilities for visitors built to the other side of the courthouse.

A taxi rank immediately to its west of Westminster Coroner’s Court is retained so it can be turned into a temporary mortuary with pop-up tents in the event of an emergency. Lynch therefore opted for a manufactured timber structure for the extension: its speedy erection and the lack of concrete are important, as the contractor may have to evacuate the site with just two hours’ notice during the construction phase. 

jurors room north people

jurors room north people

Source: Lynch Architects

The shape of the new building, which will be clad in stone, has been designed to echo the top-lit volume of the original Victorian court.

The building will also feature stained-glass windows designed by architectural artist Brian Clarke. The windows will help ensure privacy for grieving families.

Construction work will also see the installation of a kitchen and sofa beds into the upper floor of the existing court building for emergency accommodation.

Builders are expected to start on site in autumn, for completion in 2022. 

Architect’s view – Garden of Remembrance 

1 wcc coroners court garden of remembrance lynch architects

1 wcc coroners court garden of remembrance lynch architects

Source: Lynch Architects

The Garden of Remembrance was completed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire. It provides physical succour and relief for people suffering from extreme emotional and psychic pain.

It consists of three fine, creamy-white concrete planters that act also as seating and giant luminaires. Along with an antique limestone fountain (sourced from an architectural reclamation yard), the new elements form a graceful and serene composition of ambiguous figures sat upon a pale stone ground. A vertical concrete element, reminiscent of a niche or doorway, sits against the wall of the mortuary. Its outer edges are finely textured, whilst the inner curved face is smooth; you can catch a glimpse of yourself reflected in its surface, a memento mori of sorts.

On summer afternoons sunlight reflects off the surrounding red brick walls, making the white concrete figures appear a fleshly pink. The sound of water trickling in the fountain mingles with the shadows cast by the plants, animating the space and softening somewhat the deliberately rather austere and silent character of the architecture. 

Patrick Lynch, founder, Lynch Architects 

sectional model

sectional model

Source: Lynch Architects

Sectional model

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