Planning permission has been approved for Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners’ design proposal of the extension and full refurbishment of the Grade II listed Hammersmith Town Hall, the creation of a new high quality civic mixed-use development, and the positive renewal of West King Street. This is a joint-venture between Hammersmith & Fulham Council and commercial partners a2Dominion.
As the 1970s Town Hall extension has come to the end of its practical life, the proposed demolition offers an opportunity for a new public square which will enhance the setting of the existing Grade II Listed Town Hall, finally reinstating its presence on Kings Street while the public realm responds to both a civic and residential scale. The main alterations seek to both improve the existing building and facilitate a glass box rooftop extension that will allow for the consolidation of council office space, functions and operations in one place.
The new scheme will provide active frontages of retail, cafe and restaurant uses, both commercial office space and affordable creative office space, a civic public piazza fronting the existing Town Hall and capable of staging cultural events, a new site-wide energy centre, and 204 residential dwellings with 51% affordable housing – exceeding GLA principles. An extensive public realm will create play space, hard and soft landscaping throughout the site, associated residential and non-residential disabled car parking, access and servicing, and the return of a community cinema on the site of the former cinema.
Described as a “civic campus with access for all,” the project aims to balance heritage concerns with issues of access and inclusive design. Co-produced by Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s housing and regeneration officers, members of a disabled residents’ team, the consultants and RSHP, the application process was ground-breaking in that it was truly community-led, all working to ensure that the buildings and the public space will focus on the highest standards of inclusive design. Throughout the design process, a wide range of impairments were accounted for, including: the provision of disabled toilets next to standard toilets; step-free access throughout the town hall and council chamber, and the safe pedestrian route for blind and visual impaired people from King Street to the Town Hall.
“The proposed Town Hall refurbishment and new build element secures the building’s future as the civic heart of the Borough consolidating Council offices, functions and operations in one place. This is a confident intervention that respects the host building and completes its architectural expression. It is an opportunity for the positive renewal of West King Street and for a New Town Hall fitting of the Council’s aspirations and ambition. A pioneering collaboration with multiple stakeholders and local amenity groups has defined this truly community led development – a civic campus with access for all.” – Mark Rintoul, Project Architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
“This is an important moment in our mission to revitalise Hammersmith because it will breathe new life into the western end of King Street. The new four-screen cinema, new genuinely affordable homes, new public rooftop bar and restaurant and new public square are some of the factors that will rejuvenate the area and create a new Hammersmith neighbourhood. I am extremely grateful to our partners, the architects and particularly to all the local residents who helped make this scheme something I think everyone who cares about our borough will be extremely proud of. Those residents include the volunteers who led the independent Town Hall Commission, the volunteers on the Disabled People’s Commission and the hundreds of local people who attended the four public exhibitions and took the time to advise us on many aspects of this project’s design and function.” – Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham
“This exciting project is providing the opportunity to help address the shortage of good quality affordable homes in the west Hammersmith area and make better use of the land available. We look forward to working with our partners to deliver a project that will make a significant positive contribution to the borough and the people who live there.” – Darrell Mercer, Group Chief Executive, A2Dominion
“This ground-breaking development aims to create a fully accessible Town Hall and civic campus – the result of the Disabled Residents’ Team working together with the Design Team led by Mark Rintoul of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. The barriers faced by disabled people in using buildings and public open spaces were highlighted earlier on in the scheme, prior to the planning submission phase. This way of working together has proven to be both cost and time-effective for the developer, also allowing for robust solutions to be found earlier on in the process. While this approach is most unusual, it is something that we see as crucial, and a working example for all future, major development projects. This would not have happened without the Council’s commitment and strategy of co-production working together with Disabled Residents Team.” – Jane Wilmot, Disabled Residents Team
News courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners